John Tavares Came Close To Deal With Western Conference Team Before Signing With Leafs In 2018

In the summer of 2018, the hockey world was captivated by the intense pursuit of star center John Tavares in free agency.

The San Jose Sharks emerged as key contenders in this high-stakes battle, standing on the brink of a game-changing moment.

With a lineup already boasting talents like Brent Burns, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, and Erik Karlsson, the Sharks' interest in Tavares signaled their aspirations for championship glory.

Representatives from the Sharks, including owner Hasso Plattner, GM Doug Wilson, and head coach Peter DeBoer, passionately pitched their vision to Tavares at CAA headquarters in Los Angeles.

Their compelling case left a strong impression, positioning the Sharks among his top considerations alongside the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The allure of adding Tavares to their already formidable roster was tantalizing—his potential to seamlessly slide into the role of top-line center could have redefined the team's playoff prospects and propelled them toward the elusive Stanley Cup.

The Sharks' cap space flexibility further set the stage for this potential coup.

However, as the free agency period progressed, the winds of speculation shifted.

The Maple Leafs gradually emerged as frontrunners, and Tavares ultimately chose to sign with his hometown team, leaving the Sharks on the cusp of a significant signing but falling short in the end.

The close call remains a testament to the fine margins that shape sports franchises' trajectories, reminding us how one decision can echo through a team's journey in profound and unforeseen ways. Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports