Where does Tavares fit?
By Patrick Hoffman
**Originally drafted on May 8, 2018**
When it comes to this year's off-season in the NHL, every one and their mother is trying to figure out what current New York Islanders franchise superstar John Tavares is going to do.
If you're a hockey fan, it really is something to think about. Since coming into the league in the 2008-09 season, Tavares has been one of the best players in the league. In 669 career games, he has 272 goals and 349 assists for 621 points.
What's remarkable is not only has he done this all with the Isles, but he is still just 27-years-old (he turns 28 in September). This means that he has a ton of hockey left to play and is really just entering the prime of his career.
Unfortunately for Tavares, a lot of what he has accomplished so far has been wasted with the Islanders. In his nine or so years with the franchise, he has only been to the playoffs twice and has not come close to winning a Stanley Cup.
This is why this off-season is huge for Tavares. Tavares is now an unrestricted free agent and will certainly have plenty of teams clamoring for him.
With that in mind, let's take a look at which team might be a good fit for JT.
Tavares has said time and time again that he wants things to work out with the Islanders. It is the team that drafted him and the team where has had a ton of offensive success.
What could hold him back is that no one seems to know which direction the franchise is going on. As I mentioned earlier, the team has made the postseason just twice since the 2007-08 season and has not shown any signs of becoming a consistent Cup contender.
The Habs need something good to happen. They have missed the playoffs two out of the last three seasons and their offense is clearly missing something.
Tavares could be that missing piece. If he went to the Canadiens, he would be going to a proud city that is rich in hockey history, pride, and the hope that they can regain a winning form.
New York Rangers
This is probably a pipe dream, but Tavares would look awfully good in a Rangers' sweater. While it would certainly be a slap in the face to the Islanders, Tavares would excite the Blueshirt faithful and make them believe that may be the rebuild will not take as a long to complete as originally thought.
The Blueshirts have the cap room so if Tavares wants money, he would certainly be able to get it from them. He would also be going to a young team that is now faster, more skillful, and in a good position to be successful in the not too distant future.
San Jose Sharks
No one knows just how much longer Joe Thornton can play and with that becoming a reality, the Sharks will need to look for a center that can take this team into the future.
Tavares would be the perfect guy to do so. He would join an already successful offense and would be going to a team that consistently makes the postseason and is usually a Cup contender.
What it comes down to
Basically put, there are going to be a lot of suitors for Tavares. Who wouldn't want someone like Tavares on their hockey club? You'd be nuts not to at least entertain the thought of bringing him onto your hockey club.
With that said, however, it is Tavares who will be making the decision. As such, all we can do for now is dream of where he might fit in best.
Previously, Patrick has covered the NHL for Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, About.com, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.