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Insider identifies the Maple Leafs' biggest problem
BY TJ TUCKER MAY 25, 2023 (5:41 PM)
According to Nick Kypreos, the biggest issue for Toronto this offseason and the one that needs to be dealt with before anything else is captain John Tavares. Tavares has two years remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $11 million.
In a perfect world, yes, this is the contract the Maple Leafs would move. As Kypreos points out, he simply doesn't fit in to what the Leafs are trying to accomplish. Offense is not an issue. But, as we see in the playoffs over and over, offense alone is not enough to get you deep in the playoffs. It takes grit even from the players making the most money. Shedding Tavares' salary could potentially bring in two players that would add much more to the team then Tavares can at this point.
Not a Perfect World
The main issue for the new GM when it comes to moving Tavares is his full no-movement clause. He has no obligation to waive it if he doesn't want to, so any scenario that sees him leave would likely involve a team he wants to play for. Would Tavares consider a return to the New York Islanders? Perhaps a switch to a young team like the Buffalo Sabres would grease the wheels. It's tough to say, but it's something the new general manager will have to at least discuss with Tavares at some point. The future of the team likely depends on it.