The Leafs are getting everyone, and then they’re getting John Tavares too

Since 2014 when the Leafs decided to get smart and not be stupid anymore, the list of players who will supposedly be migrating north to get in on this major rebuild seems to be growing by the day.

The organization’s turn in the right direction started with the Shanahan hire and his two quick additions of Dubas and Hunter. And now with Lou and Babcock brought aboard as well, their sites seem to finally be locked in on winning…eventually.

The spin-off of this overhaul has apparently now turned Toronto into some sort of Miami Heat-like players’ paradise where everyone comes home to the center of the hockey universe to win championships. It’s about damn time, I say.

We’ve been over the Stamkos rumours so many times that there’s not much to add to that conversation right now in terms of “will he or won’t he”. It seems to be well-documented that Toronto will make a play for him, but they won’t do it at the cost of any of the prime futures they’ve accumulated. It’s pretty much as simple as that.

But the big talking point on the Stamkos circus has always been whether it makes sense for him to join this team right now, in midst of building and trying to find ways to win in the next few years. There’s a very real possibility the Leafs are again near the league basement next season at least, so perhaps he doesn’t have the stomach for that.

For that reason, Larry Brooks of the New York Post believes the chances of Stamkos landing in Toronto are remote. But there’s another number 91 who might make more sense, and his free agency date might actually align with the ‘Shanaplan’ the best of all.

John Tavares is scheduled to hit the open market in the summer of 2018, and like Stamkos, should be shooting at salary figures near the highest ever if it gets that far. He’ll be 27-years-old at the time, still in his prime years, and should see a Leafs organization at that point making major headway in becoming a contender. As Brooks notes, if the Islanders can’t take a step forward in that time performance-wise, and if they continue to half-commit to Brooklyn as their hockey home, things could go sour. It seems they already have, a little.

Now, like the whole Stamkos situation, this is just some spitballing and there doesn’t appear to be anything concrete, but it is an interesting thought since the timeline on Tavares as a big free agent prize does make a lot more sense for Toronto.

I feel like we always need to end these things off by reminding ourselves that, either way, the Leafs are in fine hands and will continue to do what they need to do outside of worrying about pending free agents. It’s just surprising to see Tavares and Toronto rumours get dropped in print like this for the first time since Brian Burke made a fool of himself by publicly declaring he’d trade for him at the 2009 draft. Hopefully it goes better this time around.

  • Kanuunankuula

    I wouldn’t call this a rumor. It is Larry Brooks after all. This has about as much merit as McDavid to Toronto for Gardiner, lets say just for giggles. Even though I wrote it down, does not make it a rumor, calling this spit balling does not do justice to BS.

  • Kanuunankuula

    tavares is better than stamkos. i’d rather have tavares. he’s also younger. stamkos hasn’t been the same dominant player post-injury. tavares continues to be excellent with worse linemates and a worse team throughotu his entire career. stamkos had marty st. louis and hasn’t been as good without him. tavares has had a similar situation to kessel. linemates and a team not on his level. okposo is a good player and complimentary for him but tavares needs more. they have leddy/boychuk now and strome is still developing but there is something missing there… come home johnny! too bad he won’t because he has undying loyalty for garth snow… now he’ll be stuck with capuano who is like the long island randy carlyle style-wise…

  • jimithy

    In fine hands since 2014. Getting smart and not being stupid anymore. The organization’s turn in the right direction started with the Shanahan hire and his two acquisitions, Dubas and Hunter. And now Lou and Babcock, whose sights seem to be locked in on winning.
    Is this a joke.
    Those guys would never play for the lame duck Leafs.
    The leafs need 12 better players before that would ever happen. And that won’t happen until it’s too late. As usual. Meanwhile ten years later when it’s not too late anymore those two guys will have retired.

  • Kanuunankuula

    Next year’s Leafs will be a completely different team than what you are seeing now!! I’m being an optimist here but it is very conceivable that the Leafs win the draft lottery (finishing in last place will give them a 20% chance) and also there is a possibility that Stamkos will not sign in Tampa (if by chance he doesn’t sign in Tampa then Stammer WILL be signing in Toronto)…….With these 2 scenarios in place…..the Leafs roster next year could look like the following:

    JVR – Stamkos – Marner
    Lupul – Mathews – Brown
    Komarov – Nylander – Kapanen
    Winnik – Gauthier – Hyman

    Rielly – Shattenkirk
    Gardiner – Hamonic
    Valiev – Zaitsev

    Riemer – Sparks

    1) Leafs sign Stammer to the 7 yr./ 70 million contract
    2) Leafs draft Austin Matthews #1 overall after winning the lottery
    3) Leafs trade Kadri to Isles for Travis Hamonic (straight up)
    4) Leafs trade Bozak and Percy to Blues for Shattenkirk
    5) Leafs sign Russia FA Nikita Zaitsev and pair him the Marlies top (all-around) D this year Rinat Valiev
    ** Leafs will be the youngest team in the NHL and most talented….will take a couple of years to grow…..get tighter to Babs’ system……would be a very nice team to watch!!

  • Kanuunankuula

    Please do not reply to jimithy. He’s obliviously a habs or an oilers fan just trolling this site. I wish this site would get rid of these bloody trolls.

  • Kanuunankuula

    It’s humorous how bloggers inject hope by writing about ufa ‘s that won’t be available in a while …. And nonetheless they think that they can get whoever just cause he was born in Ontario …. It’s asinine to think that players wouldn’t prefer other things over that.

    How many of us call home the place where we were born and how would that make a difference?

    I am sure Stamkos likes Tampa (what’s not to like!) I am sure Tavares enjoys New York. I am positive they will make whatever amount of $ they want really but more than anything they probably want to win a cup. Both Tampa and NYI have a better shot at that.

    Dreaming is free I guess. Happy Valentine’s Day .