Toronto Maple Leafs and John Tavares agree to seven-year deal

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 30: John Tavares
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 30: John Tavares /

After a lot of speculation, John Tavares has finally decided to take his talents back to Canada and play for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Toronto Maple Leafs finally land the big fish in free agency with John Tavares deciding to play for his hometown team agreeing to a seven-year $77 million contract ($11 million aav).

It has been an exhausting time for hockey fans as the decision took some time to come together with an official #TavaresWatch hashtag which took over Twitter this weekend.

After missing out on Steven Stamkos two years ago, the Leafs brushed that aside and allowed their young core to carry this team forward. This time around, GM Kyle Dubas was not going to let his man get away.

Give credit to the lack of leaks from the CAA Sports agency and Tavares throughout the process as it is never easy to keep that information locked down.

Now the pressure is on the Leafs as this move puts them in a position to compete for a Stanley Cup something Tavares clearly saw the potential of doing when he chose to with the Leafs.

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It doesn’t mean that it is guaranteed either as the Leafs still have work to do to fix up areas that need improvement. Tavares helps replace the offensive production lost by James van Riemsdyk‘s departure and an obvious upgrade at centre.

Who Mike Babcock puts on either side of Tavares will be interesting as there is the obvious case to be made that Mitch Marner and Patrick Marleau should be there.

That would leave Auston Matthews the chance to stay with his normal line with Zach Hyman and William Nylander. Nazem Kadri will likely slot onto the third line with Andreas Johnsson, Kasperi Kapanen and Connor Brown as the top options to fill out the top nine.

Out of all the players on the Leafs, Matthews will gain the most out of having Tavares here as the attention from the oppositions top defenders won’t always be on him.

This opportunity doesn’t present itself so credit Dubas, Babcock and Brendan Shanahan for doing what was necessary to sign one of the biggest free agents in recent memory.

Next: William Nylander will not be leaving

What are your thoughts on the Leafs landing Tavares? Where would you play him in the lineup? Let us know in the comments below.