The New York Islanders have reportedly offered pending unrestricted free agent John Tavares an extension of eight years and $88 million, an average of $11 million per year. The structure of whatever contract he ultimately signs likely incorporates plenty of signing bonuses that make contracts “lockout proof” and also front load a significant amount of money.
The Islanders are the only team that can offer Tavares eight years, as the CBA mandates that home-team advantage while other teams can only offer seven years beginning on July 1.
However, if true, this term of eight years and $88 million is no surprise — it’s a number that’s been thrown around a lot in “believed to be” terms, with many forecasting the final number will be around $12 million per year. David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period is claiming this 8 x 11 figure concretely (note, however, he also said it’s the “first formal offer” from the Isles, which conflicts with other reports, or at least reports that indicate a baseline bid of eight years and $10 million per was offered this spring).
Regardless, that’s where this is coming from as the free agent “listening period” begins. Camp Tavares, as you likely know, informed the Islanders and let it be known to the world on Saturday that he intends to use this period to hear from at least five other teams.
Which teams? Pagnotta says the Sharks and Golden Knights are two of them. Arthur Staple of The Athletic contradicts that by saying Vegas is not in, but the Sharks, Stars and Leafs are. (Staple previously indicated the Kings were likely to be one, and apparently a long-term favorite, but that has changed.) Andrew Gross of Newsday previously said it is believed the Toronto Maple Leafs are in that mix.
And of course, the Isles are in the mix, Staple previously reporting Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello was headed to southern California, where Tavares agent Pat Brisson and CAA is based, to be part of the pitch parade.
Tavares list just about finalized, it appears.— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) June 25, 2018
Leafs, Sharks, Stars are in, as mentioned a couple days ago. Believe the Bruins are in as well.
Canadiens and Vegas not on the list as of now.#Isles will get in there too, of course.
Can confirm the 2nd team officially talking to John Tavares this week is San Jose. They are going all in for him, and word is the entire team is on board to make it happen. They really want him.— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) June 24, 2018
Staple later added the Predators and Lightning to the “could be” list.
Sounds like Tampa and/or Nashville could round out Tavares’ list of visitors starting Monday. Might end up being six teams instead of five, plus #Isles.— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) June 25, 2018
(FYI Pagnotta also adds that fellow Islanders free agent and fellow 2009 draft first-rounder Calvin de Haan is receiving significant interest as the discussion window begins. This is where we remind you that agents share information that is advantageous to their clients.)
However this all turns out, Tavares and CAA have played this quite well in a way that maintains Tavares’ sense of loyalty to the team while also taking advantage of his CBA-given right to do exactly this, which isn’t exactly a Stamkos, more like a Stamkos 2.0 Expansion Pack. In the process, mega-agency CAA learns yet more about other teams’ plans and pitches, and increases the odds of the Isles — or another team — bidding more and more to secure #91’s services for the next seven or eight years.
All of this non-stop speculation involving as many as 10 teams waiting to make their pitch has no doubt been informed by teams acting completely above board and tamper-free, I assure you.
Anyway, that’s where things stand heading into Monday. If you are new here, know that Dan has these updates and more in the John Tavares Free Agency Encyclopedia, whose third and final(?) chapter is surely nearing its conclusion.
But first, this week we’ll have to suffer through daily reports about each team flirting with our captain. And even if he ends up staying with the Isles, the final, competitively bid-up figure may be a tough one to swallow for a contract that would take him to age 35.
Such is the cost of doing business.