Insider: "Theory" Links John Tavares to Surprising Team

While all of the focus this summer will be on what the Toronto Maple Leafs will do with Mitch Marner and his expiring $10.9 million, at least some observers still haven't given up on the idea of John Taveras and his $11 million potentially being on the move. 

Insider Jeff Marek told Elliotte Friedman on Sportsnet radio on Monday that Tavares is someone he is "wondering about":

I had a conversation with someone… Who wondered about a team like Utah. Here's why: Utah has a lot of young players… And are most likely in the business for veteran players on short term deals. And the theory is that they could offer John Tavares a pretty healthy number on a two-year contract as a way to entice him to waive his no-trade (clause).

The one part of this that does make sense, is that Tavares will almost certainly not be getting a "pretty healthy number" on a contract with Toronto after next season. A very small, team-friendly number, perhaps. But nothing "pretty" or "healthy" from the Tavares standpoint.

Friedman, while not thinking it was completely implausible, did reply that "As we talk here right now, I'm under the impression that Tavares is going to play in Toronto this year." And if we thought that Marner was adamant about staying with the Leafs, the captain takes it up to another level about refusing to leave.

Tavares, like Marner, is Toronto-born, and does not want to leave his hometown after he signed that 7-year, $77 million deal with the Leafs back in 2018. 

Going into his age-34 season next year, Tavares is still coming off a solid season, with 29 goals and 65 points, but it's widely thought that the Leafs could make much greater use of his $11 million elsewhere around the roster. His full no-movement clause, however, makes that a near-impossibility.

Must we remind everyone of his now-infamous tweet?

It would appear that the Utah Yeti, or whatever they wind up being called, will have to look elsewhere for a proven veteran to join their kids. 

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