John Tavares trade rumors
Will John Tavares sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs or Montreal Canadiens?

Latest John Tavares rumors If John Tavares does not re-sign with the New York Islanders Dan Rosen feels the Montreal Canadiens are a more likely destination as veteran center Tomas Plekanec and his $6 million salary-cap hit comes off the Habs books next July.  

The Sporting News: Michael Augello reports how the Toronto Maple Leafs could make room for John Tavares if he hits the open market next summer. Having two superstar centers in Tavares and Auston Matthews could be intriguing for Leafs management, who staged a failed attempt last summer to land Steven Stamkos before he re-signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

Augello notes the Leafs will have nearly $30 million in salary-cap space with Tyler Bozak, Dominic Moore, Ben Smith, Joffrey Lupul, Leo Komarov, James van Riemsdyk and Eric Fehr coming off the books, along with the buyouts of Jared Cowen and Tim Gleason. Adding Tavares would likely mean trading center Nazem Kadri to clear additional cap room to bolster their depth elsewhere on the roster, such as the blueline.

Top 10 NHL Free Agents for 2018

  1. John Tavares,C, Islanders … Will he re-sign with New York or will Montreal or Toronto make a run at him?
  2. Cam Atkinson, RW, Blue Jackets … Financial hurdles aside, Columbus won’t lose Atkinson, now entrenched in that core as one of the NHL’s top goal scorers.
  3. John Carlson, D, Capitals … Washington will do its best to keep Carlson. But this top-pair, right-shot defenseman projects to hit a slim market at 28. You do the math.
  4. Kyle Turris, C, Senators … Turris can be up and down, but No. 1 playmaking centers don’t enter free agency often, especially not 28-year-old ones.
  5. Evander Kane, LW, Sabres … At 26, Kane will be the youngest UFA forward in the 2018 class. Another 28-goal season would dull the character concerns.
  6. James van Riemsdyk, LW, Maple Leafs … If Kane and Atkinson re-sign, van Riesmdyk stands to become the most sought-after scoring winger next summer.
  7. Ilya Kovalchuk, LW, KHL … Never mind he’ll be 35. Kovalchuk’s proven history of scoring goals in the NHL entices. It’ll draw a bidding war.
  8. Mikael Backlund, C, Flames … Backlund, 28, should build on career totals of 22 goals and 53 points for a sizable raise, in Calgary or elsewhere.
  9.  James Neal, LW, Golden Knights … Neal figures to lead Vegas in scoring when he’s flipped at the trade deadline, then reap the rewards in free agency. 
  10. Rick Nash, LW/RW, Rangers … No longer a dominant force but Nash, 34 next summer, is still plenty capable. A strong 2017-18 will earn him one last big payment.


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