Tavares signs on with Maple Leafs

John Tavares is heading home to Toronto.

The star free agent inked a 7-year $77 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs just hours after free agency began on Sunday afternoon.

The former New York Islanders captain received offers from six different teams, but in the end he decided the best fit for him would be to return home to Toronto to join a team stacked with young talent. He turned down offers from the Boston Bruins, Dallas Stars, New York Islanders, San Jose Sharks, and Tampa Bay Lightning.

The 27-year-old center was the 1st overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders and he spent the first nine years of his career on Long Island. He served as the captain of the club for the last five seasons. He appeared in 669 regular season games for the Islanders and picked up 272 goals and 349 assists in those games. Tavares also led the team to the playoffs in three of his nine seasons. He registered 11 goals and 11 assists in 24 playoff games.

The Islanders did what they could to keep Tavares in New York by hiring Lou Lamiorello as the president of operations and general manager and recent Stanley cup winning coach Barry Trotz as their bench boss. However, despite their efforts, Tavares chose to leave for Toronto.

The long time Islander sent out a heartfelt message to Islanders fan on Twitter after he made the decision to sign with the Maple Leafs.

Tavares now joins his hometown club that hasn’t won a Stanley Cup 1967. He joins a talented team that includes Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, Patrick Marleau, and Morgan Rielly, as well as Mike Babcock behind the bench.

Tavares and the Leafs will visit the Islanders twice next season. The first game will take place on February 28th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and the second will take place on April 1st at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island.


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