Toronto Maple Leafs: No reason to doubt signing John Tavares

Carey Price #31 of the Montreal Canadiens makes a glove save on John Tavares #91 of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Carey Price #31 of the Montreal Canadiens makes a glove save on John Tavares #91 of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

Taking time to reflect back on the Toronto Maple Leafs signing John Tavares, there should be no doubt that it was a pivotal move.

After celebrating Canada Day in a way that was certainly different than other years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Toronto Maple Leafs fans made sure to remember a big moment for the team.

Signing John Tavares to a seven-year, $77 million contract created a major buzz and rightfully so considering the Leafs were involved; there aren’t many times where a player of his calibre moves and many teams were involved in the sweepstakes. In the end, the Leafs were the more desirable spot and the team has been better off because of it.

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There has been some doubt about the Tavares’ signing, especially with the Leafs’ salary cap crunch and the team’s need to add a right-shot defenceman. Would his $11 million cap hit be better suited in addressing other issues the team is currently facing?

It’s interesting to hear this now considering that when you look back, it was hard to find a person who was not in favour of the deal. When it comes to the Leafs’ salary cap situation, Tavares’ contract shouldn’t be seen as the reason why things are where they are.

Generally, we have seen the cap increase each season but with the coronavirus taking away a good portion of the league’s revenue, this likely won’t be the case next season. This is not something any team in the league saw coming and it won’t be just the Leafs facing a problem.

Contending teams have been put in a situation by the NHL where they have to make tough decisions because they can’t afford to pay everyone. Some teams have been able to get good bargains by betting on a player’s potential before a breakout, but younger players are establishing their value a lot earlier.

In Tavares’ case, he was an unrestricted free agent with many options including a reported $13 million offer from the San Jose Sharks. Getting him at $11 million might seem steep but he has delivered since joining Toronto.

Looking back at past signings by the Leafs, there haven’t been many high profile players who have been able to perform with the pressure and spotlight on him. When you look back at the deals that haven’t worked out in the past for Toronto, it’s tough to be critical of Tavares.

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What are your thoughts on the Tavares deal? Should the Leafs have not considered it? Let us know in the comments below.