John Tavares watch
It is now 11 days until July 1st and the Islanders and John Tavares have yet to come to a deal. It was rumored last week that Tavares and the Islanders were looking at 10.7 million per year, long-term deal obviously but nothing went forward after that and there is nothing set in stone. The watch is really heating up and if Tavares becomes a UFA in 11 days he will be without a doubt the number one most pursued free agents in the last decade.
Yesterday the Maple Leafs hit the news about something they are brewing “IF” Tavares hits UFA watch. Per Bob McKenzie
“Like a lot of teams, no doubt, if John Tavares gets to the UFA shopping period. It is still an “if” at this point. Toronto is believed to be putting together a promotional video for JT that may even include a cameo pitch or two from some current Leafs players. It was also talked about last the Leafs put in a sheet of ice at the Air Canada Center for some promotional purposes.
Tavares has been one of the biggest targets for Toronto the moment he was rumored to be nearing the end of his contract and Tavares and the Islanders could not come to a deal this season. Besides Toronto, there are still some teams flying under the radar that IF Tavares does reach UFA market, will be pursuing him heavily. Aside from Toronto, Vegas has said to be making a push for Tavares, some other teams that have not per say pursued Tavares but may make a push for him are the Canadiens and Rangers. The Canadiens and Rangers would not be the best suitors for Tavares, but with the cap space they have it may be worth throwing an offer Tavares’s way. At the end of the day, I think we see a deal be done later in the week, around Friday, Saturday.
Canadiens to draft Jesperi Kotkaniemi 3rd overall
Another mistake coming out of Montreal? We shall see in 3 days as the Canadiens said they will be pursuing Jesperi Kotkaniemi, passing on Filip Zadina, Quinton Hughes, Brady Tkachuk and more. The Canadiens said if they cannot trade down for Kotkaniemi they will be drafting him 3rd overall still. At the beginning of the draft Kotkaniemi was not this high on the draft board, but after a successful showing at the combine, he has risen up the board a tremendous amount, moving in the eye of the Canadiens at number three.
Kotkaniemi played out of Liiga for Assat playing 57 games scoring 10 goals and 19 assists as well as for Finland U18 World Juniors team tallying 9 points in 7 games, Finland U18 and U20 on the International stage combining for 22 points in 20 games. Kotkaniemi center slot may be the reason the Canadiens have been so evident on drafting Kotkaniemi. Along with his 6″2 190 lb frame, and the Canadiens recently trading Alex Galchenyuk and not acquiring a true center could be the reason for his uproar in the rankings as of late.