Departure: Toronto Maple Leafs management is open to Trading its captain, due to

Departure: Toronto Maple Leafs management is open to Trading its captain, due to

There are ways for the Toronto Maple Leafs can get out from under the Tavares $11M cap hit
Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins - Game Seven

After the season, many are wondering if the Toronto Maple Leafs could deal captain John Tavares in lieu of Mitch Marner, given the attention being paid to a new coach and the possibility of splitting up the “Core Four” in a trade.

The days of sending a sizable contract to the Arizona Coyotes are long gone, but the Toronto Maple Leafs still have alternative ways to let go of their 29-goal center without having to pay his salary budget charge.

After signing a seven-year contract in the summer of 2018, Tavares has just completed his sixth season with the team. With a $11 million cap charge remaining, he has one year remaining on his contract. Tavares will only be paid $910,000 after July 1st due to a signing bonus of $7.04 million (per CapFriendly).

The Coyotes used to be all in to accept this kind of contract from a team that had a minimum salary and a big cap hit, but that is no longer the case with them moving to Utah and an owner who is eligible to spend money. Given his complete no-movement clause, it seems improbable that the 15-year veteran Tavares would choose to join a non-contender.

The management team should have a meeting with the captain’s group to discuss his future ambitions. I wouldn’t mind reupping him rather than dealing him if he was ready to accept a $2–$3M extension in exchange for giving up the captaincy. It would be time for all parties to agree on how to move forward if that was not a possibility.

The $11 million cap price would be too much for a competitive team to bear, but how about acquiring a seasoned striker who could score 25 goals for, say, $5.5 million?

Is John Tavares Tradeable by the Toronto Maple Leafs?

The Los Angeles Kings and Dallas Stars are two teams who immediately stand out.

Despite their advanced age, both are still competitive and have contracts expiring this summer. Joe Pavelski, who will turn 40 in a few months, and his $3.5 million salary cap burden are both leaving the Dallas Stars, as is Matt Duchene’s $3 million deal.

When Tavares joins the Stars, he might take on a role akin to the ones played by those two players. Pavelski could return for one more season, but that would probably come at a much lower cost and provide the organization with additional choices.

Should the Los Angeles Kings decide to remove Pierre-Luc Dubois from their coaching staff this summer, Tavares may provide some kind of substitute.

On a club that is already deep in the middle, Tavares could easily move to the wing even if Dubois is not sold. In terms of cap space, Viktor Arvidsson’s $4.25 million contract expires and Anze Kopitar accepted a $3 million cut in his current contract, which begins this summer.

Brad Treliving would have to locate a third team that would be willing to keep half of Tavares’ contract after determining the place where the captain of the Maple Leafs would be willing to go. A team in the midst of a rebuild, like as the San Jose Sharks, might add the $5.5 million cap charge in exchange for a few draft picks.

Trade Offer: Conditional Pick (from SJS) to Toronto Maple Leafs

To: John Tavares, Los Angeles Kings or Dallas Stars ($5.5 million cap hit)

2nd Round Pick (LAK or DAL) and 7th Round Pick (TOR) to the San Jose Sharks

With Tavares, the organization will acquire a seasoned player who will score 25 goals for a salary of less than $1 million in exchange for a second-round choice. While the Maple Leafs gain $11 million in cap space and only lose a late selection pick, the San Jose Sharks acquire two draft picks in exchange for taking on a dead cap burden.

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