With the Stanley Cup Playoffs now over and the 2018 NHL Entry Draft on the horizon, the spotlight now turns to big name free agents like New York Islanders captain John Tavares and trade targets like Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson. It’s highly likely that both Tavares and Karlsson could both end up joining new teams this offseason, but it remains to be seen where and at what cost.
One thing we DO know is that teams will be lining up offers in the expectation that Tavares will test free agency on July 1st. We also know that Tavares and his agent have a five day period in advance of free-agency to speak freely with other NHL teams and potentially negotiate a deal prior to July 1st. The early speculation is that the San Jose Sharks, Vegas Golden Knights and New York Rangers will all pursue Tavares aggressively, but one NHL insider has a precaution that really throw things for a loop.
Anonymous hockey blogger Eklund, who admittedly has a less than stellar track record when it comes to making predictions, reported earlier today that Tavares is planning a visit to Canada’s West Coast to meet with the Vancouver Canucks.
Here’s the full report from Eklund, but again take his account of things with a GIANT grain of salt:
Was just told by a source that Tavares has planned to visit with Vancouver during his five day window leading up to July 1. This doesn’t mean he is going to sign there, but it is perhaps most interesting because this is the first team I have heard mentioned in a “Tavares visit” which implies Tavares DOES plan to let this go to July 1 and visit teams…
Interesting… assuming this is true, why on Earth would Tavares have interest in the Canucks? The team is clearly in the middle of a rebuild and just lost its two best players, Henrik and Daniel Sedin, to retirement. Having said that, the Canucks could boast a powerful 1-2 punch at center with Tavares and youngster Bo Horvat. Maybe it’s not as crazy as it sounds…
And, for all the trouble that the Canucks seem to be in are they really any worse off than the Islanders? The Canucks won’t contend for the Stanley Cup or anything this season, but with Horvat and Calder Trophy nominee Brock Boeser already making names for themselves, along with top prospects like Elias Pettersson, Olli Juolevi and Thatcher Demko, the rebuild could be over quicker than people think in Vancouver. Add Tavares into the mix and it’s not out of the realm of possibility to see the Canucks push for a playoff spot in 2018-19.
Then again… this is an Eklund rumor we’re talking about, so don’t hold your breath, Canucks fans.
Photo Credit: Zuma Press