Ladies and Gentleman, Leafs Nation, Loyal NOTB Fans, let’s give a massive welcome to the new Captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs…John Tavares!
Words really cannot describe how I feel about this signing for the Leafs but I am going to write a blog about it anyways. We, yes we, as a franchise, have just made arguably the biggest free agent signing of the 21st century. Not only did we get a franchise center in John Tavares but we got a franchise center in John Tavares for the next 7 years! All this talk about how he was going to go sign with a team on a one year contract for around $15 million dollars and the Leafs steal him away from everyone else for $77 million with an AAV of $11 million. Think about the depth on center. We now have three, 30 goal scorers from last year at the position and are in fact the only team in the NHL that is able to say that. The Leafs have also received the best odds to win the Stanley Cup next season at 7/1 ahead of second ranked Tampa Bay at 9/1. How can you not be excited as a Leafs fan for this upcoming season. I never saw this coming but I think it was a no doubter; when you can lock up a player like that for extended time, you make it happen. I only hope we can keep our extremely talented young core of specifically Matthews and Marner around because if so we are going to be contenders for a very long time.
Born in Missisauga, Ontario, Tavares grew up watching the Leafs every Saturday night. He got his rise playing for the Toronto Marlboros where he netted 91 goals in 72 games at the Minor Midget level. He received exceptional status into the OHL when he was only 14 years old which has only been awarded 5 times to the likes of players like Connor McDavid & Aaron Ekblad. He buried 45 goals and 32 assists in his rookie campaign helping him achieve the Canadian Hockey League Rookie of the Year. Following that season he potted 72 goals and 62 assists breaking Wayne Gretzky’s OHL record for most goals by a 16 year old and eventually went on to win the CHL’s Player of the year award along with OHL MVP. In 2009, Johnny T was drafted first overall to the New York Islanders where he has spent his entire career up to this point. Unfortunately, in the NHL, one amazing player doesn’t make an entire team amazing and Tavares only reached the playoffs 3 times, only advancing passed the first round once. Now that he is coming home, he is ready for change. He believes in the Leafs system and wants to help bring the Cup back to the great city of Toronto. How awesome is it that we get to watch a player like this finally come back home to Toronto and play for his childhood dream organization. He has now moved into my favourite JT of all time right ahead of the great Justin Timberlake. Seeing him in the Leafs Blue honestly gives me goosebumps.
I honestly am so happy to have a player like Tavares coming the Leafs. The season cannot start fast enough. I would love to see him get a role along side Mitch Marner and maybe Patrick Marleau and with that talent in combination, those three guys could put up huge numbers. Also, think about the power-play unit, we are talking if not the best unit in the league, a top-three unit no doubt. Let’s just get this season rolling and go win Lord Stanley! GO LEAFS GO!
Projected Toronto Maple Leafs 2018-2019 Line Combinations: