Shocking Scenario Could See Maple Leafs Move on From John Tavares

Wade Messier
June 5, 2023  (10:04)

Kyle Dubas turned many heads when he signed John Tavares to a massive 7-year deal worth $11 million annually. The deal lasts through the 2024-25 season and will expire when Tavares is 35 years old. With Tavares' play already becoming less and less of what it used to be, it's not unrealistic to assume that new GM Brad Treliving could look to move Tavares elsewhere.

How Can Treliving Make it Work?

Tavares' contract contains a full no-movement clause, meaning the Leafs would have to get Tavares to waive his NMC before trading him anywhere. Basically, the Leafs can't trade Tavares unless he wants to be, leaving Toronto in a really tough spot.
Treliving could try to trade Tavares to a contending team in a great city to try and persuade Tavares into waiving his NMC, but it's still unlikely that Tavares willingly leaves his hometown.

What Are Treliving's Options?

The obvious answer here is to wait out the last two years of Tavares' contract, and either lose him in free agency or re-sign him to a much smaller deal. While it is a possibility, we should remember that Tavares was not a Treliving signing.
Another option would be to try and trade Tavares at the trade deadline over the next two years while retaining up to 50% of his contract. While Toronto would be left with a sizeable chunk of dead cap, it would free them up to $5.5 million per year for the duration of his contract.
This move may be the smartest, as it allows Treliving to save as much money as possible for Matthews and Nylanders' upcoming extensions. Nothing is certain right now, but Treliving will have to make a decision sooner rather than later.
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