NHL Insider Links Maple Leafs $77 Million Forward to Utah

John Tavares

Getty TORONTO, CANADA - MARCH 4: John Tavares #91 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Boston Bruins during the second period in an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on March 4, 2024 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Bruins defeated the Maple Leafs 4-1. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

NHL insider Jeff Marek of Sportsnet thinks Utah could be a logical fit for Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares.

Tavares is in the final year of the seven-year $77 million deal he signed with his hometown Maple Leafs in 2018. With Tavares having one year left on his deal that pays him $11 million, he has been the subject of trade rumors this summer.

Although Tavares has a no-movement clause, Marek wonders if he would waive it to go to Utah as he thinks that is a good fit for him.

“One of the players that a lot of us maybe wonder about here is John Tavares, who’s going in the final year of his deal. I had a conversation with someone, who would have been a week-and-a-half ago who wondered about a team like Utah. Here’s why: Utah has a lot of young players, Logan Cooley is an obvious one,” Marek said on June 10 on The Jeff Marek Show.

“So, Utah is most likely in the business for veteran players on short-term deals. The theory is that they could offer John Tavares a pretty healthy number on a two-year contract as a way to entice him to waive his no-trade (clause),” Marek continued.

A trade to Utah would be intriguing, but as Marek says, Tavares would have to waive his no-movement clause to make it happen.

Tavares recorded 29 goals and 36 assists for 65 points in 80 regular season games with the Maple Leafs last season.

Insider Expects Tavares to be a Maple Leaf Next Season

Although Tavares has been the subject of trade rumors, he does control his fate with the no-movement clause. If Tavares doesn’t want to be traded, he can’t be and will finish the final year of his deal with the Maple Leafs next season.

NHL insider Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet says from all his conversations, he expects Tavares to be a Maple Leaf next season.

“I’m under the impression that Tavares is going to play in Toronto next year,” Friedman responded on The Jeff Marek show… “As we talk here right now, I’m under the impression he is going to play here (Toronto) next year. I don’t think he has any desire to leave, and we will see what else comes up out of it. But, the last time I checked in on him, which was about a week ago, I was told he was going to be here next year, so we will see.”

Tavares does have every right not to waive his no-movement clause and Friedman expects that to be the case.

Tavares Wants to Remain in Toronto

Tavares signed with his hometown team on July 1, 2018, on the opening day of free agency.

While Tavares was playing for Team Canada at the World Championships, the 33-year-old says he loves playing in Toronto and is confident the team can win the Stanley Cup.

“I love playing here. It’s a remarkable place to play,” Tavares said, via Sportsnet. “And when I committed here six years ago, obviously I saw a tremendous amount of talent and an amazing hockey market and organization that’s fully committed to winning and doing whatever it can — and I still feel that way.

“Whether it’s (facing) defensive teams, physical teams, whatever’s required, I think we’ve certainly shown a lot of growth in those areas. Obviously, we still got to overcome some of the hurdles to get the job done — and that’s on us and on myself. But I think we’re right there,” Tavares added.

Since signing with the Maple Leafs, Tavares and Toronto have won just one playoff series.

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