Toronto Maple Leafs Can’t Actually Trade John Tavares Can They?

With an $11M cap-hit, trading John Tavares could free up a ton of space for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

When John Tavares came home, every Toronto Maple Leafs fan thought it also meant the Stanley Cup was coming with him. However, it’s now been four seasons and the team has yet to reach the second round of the playoffs.

Regular season success is important, but when it comes to winning in the playoffs, Tavares historically has never been that player.

He has 36 points in 44 playoff games, which is fine, but he’s only reached the second round of the playoffs once in his career. You can’t put the entire blame on one player, but winning one playoff round in 13 seasons is pretty bad when you’ve been the captain for the majority of them.

When you’re making $11M per season, you should be the difference-maker in a playoff series and should be the best player on your team. Unfortunately, at this point, Tavares is arguably the fourth best player and is getting slower with every shift.

Everyone knew that the contract wasn’t going to end well, but we all thought that within the first four years of it, he’d at least help this team win a playoff round, or championship by now. But, with three years left at $11M, and a salary cap that is barely increasing, Tavares isn’t helping this team get any better.

Tavares Trade Would Help The Toronto Maple Leafs, But It’s Not Happening

John Tavares is a local-kid with a no-trade-movement clause, so it seems pretty impossible that the team would actually move him, or that he’d ask for a trade.

He’s the captain of this team, and despite all the flaws I just talked about, he’s still a proven leader and someone who can fetch between 25-30 goals per season and register close to a point-per-game. Although the contract is dead-weight, that’s something you have to live with and you need to go bargain-shopping in the bottom-six to make up for it.

However, if Toronto found a way to ship Tavares out the door, it would be a welcomed sight.

The one thing that Auston Matthews’s currently missing is the captaincy so trading Tavares would ultimately allow Matthews to wear the “C”, which he deserves. He’s the life-blood of this team and clearly the leader, so gaining the captaincy would only spark him to play better in the playoffs and become a bigger superstar than what he currently is.

However, that’s probably not going to happen anytime soon.

Despite being incredibly talented, the no-move-clause and $11M cap-hit are going to be a huge hurdle in trading Tavares, so if the team wants to find cap-space, they’re going to have to find it elsewhere.

Whether that’s Jake Muzzin, Alex Kerfoot, William Nylander, Petr Mrazek or Justin Holl, there’s plenty of other players on this roster making a lot of money that can be shipped out for cap-space.

Tavares’ playoff record has been abysmal for years, but I guess the rest of the team hasn’t been any better, so as much as we want to blame the captain, we should be thankful that he’s part of the team and loves this organization.