New York Islanders star John Tavares is entering a contract year, and the rumors about a possible departure are heating up. But the Vancouver Canucks shouldn’t bother getting involved in the Tavares sweepstakes for many reasons.
As the Vancouver Canucks enter this rebuilding stage, they’re undoubtedly in need of a true No. 1 centre to lead the team of the future. Many wonder if Bo Horvat will become that guy, but the expectation is that 2017 first-rounder Elias Pettersson will be this team’s top centre for years to come.
But on paper, their solution to finding that next franchise superstar to succeed the Sedin twins looks easy: Chase pending 2018 free agent, John Tavares, who could be the most sought-after UFA in league history.
Though Tavares has made it clear he’d love to stay with the New York Islanders, the speculation of ‘Johnny T’ leaving has already begun. Over at the Sporting News, Michael Augello broke down how the Toronto Maple Leafs could make a deal work for him.
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Over at A Winning Habit, Omar White believes that the Montreal Canadiens will pursue Tavares (if he’s available).
So why not take a look at if Tavares and the Canucks would make sense? If he is a free agent on July 1st, 2018, it’s safe to assume that at least two dozen teams will be in on Tavares.
But don’t expect the Canucks to be one of them.
For many reasons, Tavares and the Canucks just aren’t a fit, and general manager Jim Benning would have to make a lot of sacrifices just to sign one player. It wouldn’t work.
The cost would be enormous
Under the current NHL CBA, the max term a player can sign for with a new team is seven years. Tavares would easily get the seven years from a new team, and it’s easy to envision him getting around $10.5 million a season.
According to CapFriendly.com, the Canucks have roughly $8.125 million in cap space. Assuming Erik Gudbranson and the Sedins aren’t re-upped after next season, the Canucks will have $17.5 cleared there.
But imagine Tavares signs with the Canucks for seven years at $10.5 million per season. That would only leave them around $15 million in cap space. That goes without mentioning Bo Horvat’s inevitable extension, sure to cost at least $5 million a season. Markus Granlund and Sven Baertschi are RFAs next summer, and will also be due for hefty raises.
And down the road, Vancouver will want to have a ton of cap space cleared for hopeful future stars like Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson, Thatcher Demko and Olli Juolevi. Investing all their cap space into one player just doesn’t make sense for the Canucks.
Canucks don’t need Tavares
Though it’ll be a few years until we find out if Horvat and Pettersson emerge as true superstar centres, the Canucks have to feel confident that they have their long-term answers at the position.
Assuming the Canucks continue to finish near the bottom of the standings, they’ll also load up on more draft picks that could lead them to selecting other centres with superstar aspirations.
So chasing Tavares isn’t really a necessity for the Canucks. With Brandon Sutter also on the books, the Canucks have too much long-term depth at centre. Signing Tavares isn’t going to suddenly make them a Stanley Cup contender, either.
At the end of the day, signing John Tavares just wouldn’t make sense. The Vancouver Canucks are rebuilding the right way, and it doesn’t make sense to throw the plan away by going after one marquee player.