Opinion: Why John Tavares Signing with Toronto is a Bad Idea for Both the Maple Leafs and Tavares

There have been rumblings of the Toronto Maple Leafs attempting to sign John Tavares to a 1-year, 15+ million dollar contract. Here is why I believe this is a bad idea for both parties.
To start, I will get any biases out of the way. For the entire 2017-18 season, I did hope Tavares would come to the Canadiens, but I have since come to terms with this not happening. With that out of the way, let's start.

-Not Toronto's area of concern
The Maple Leafs' forward core is pretty well set for now and the future. They will certainly be taking a hit losing JVR, Bozak, and Komarov, but they still have guys in the pipeline (Johnsson and Gauthier for example) who can fill in fairly well. Their real issue is with their defence. The team gave up an average of 34 shots per game last season (4th highest in the NHL). It would be smarter to pursue some defence-men in free agency or by trade than to sign Tavares. Players like Calvin De Haan and Ian Cole would be smarter choices and would not have anywhere near the same price tag as Tavares.

-The Massive Contract
One way or the other, Tavares is going to get paid big-time with this contract. Even if the Leafs managed to get him for cheap at 10 million dollars per season, they would still likely have to trade either Matthws, Marner, or Nylander and they would still have serious cap issues. It does not make sense to acquire a player if their contract is going to cause a lot of damage to the team after just 1 season.

-The 1-year, Max Salary Idea
To all of the people who believe Toronto should sign him to a 1-year contract worth 15 million dollars, and then quickly re-sign him to an 8-year extension, I have news for you. It's a terrible idea for both of them. First off, the tax rate for Toronto is the highest in the entire league. If he were to sign for 15 million dollars in Toronto, he would still be making less net salary than if he were to sign for 12 million in Tampa Bay or Dallas (both of whom were said to be in talks with Tavares).

Furthermore, offering a player a 1-year contract does not mean you can re-sign him right away like some people think. Tavares would have to wait until January 1st, 2019 before negotiating a contract extension. By that point, he could have had a serious injury requiring surgery, or even a drop in performance with his new team. Both of these would hinder the salary he could get with his new contract with the Leafs.

"But he's looking to win a cup, that's why he's leaving" some argue. Will the Maple Leafs be able to win with the same defensive core that let them down the last 2 seasons? They wont be able to add much to it if they re-sign Nylander AND sign Tavares, plus they lost JVR, Bozak, and Komarov. The Leafs won't be much better with Tavares when you factor in the pieces they are losing to afford him.

Not to mention the issue of that possible 1 + 8 year extension will take him all the way until age 36. Do you really believe Tavares will be a 10-12 million dollar player until he's 36? I highly doubt it.

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