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NHL News: John Tavares rumors, Doughty and Couture resigns

The John Tavares sweepstakes

John Tavares will be a free agent on July 1 if he doesn’t re-sign with the New York Islanders. According to multiple reports, the Islanders, Sharks, Leafs, Stars, Lightning and Bruins are the finalist to sign Tavares. Out of the six possible destinations, the Sharks and Islanders are most likely to get his signature.

The 27-year-old centremen is a former number one overall pick and finished last season with an impressive 37 goals and 47 assists. If he does sign with the Sharks, he’ll be part a great veteran core ( Burns, Pavelski, Vlasic, Kane) that will contend for next year’s Stanley Cup. The Sharks have the cap space to meet Tavares salary demands. The Sharks have the win-now attitude, but the aging group of veterans may not provide long-term stability that Tavares is looking for.

Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Islanders
John Tavares been one of the most consistent forwards in the NHL for almost a decade. Photo by: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America

The Islanders are hoping to secure and maintain their captain to a long-term contract. This offseason, the Isle’s shook things up in the front office by acquiring Lou Lamiorello. More than a month ago, the Islanders fired Head Coach Doug Weight and General Manager Garth Snow. Lamiorello recently hired Stanley Cup winning head coach Barry Trotz. Now Lamiorello’s main objective is to re-sign Tavares, and bringing in quality personnel can convince Tavares to remain in New York.

The dark-horse for the Tavares sweepstakes will be his hometown team, the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs possess future superstars like Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and Morgan Reilly. With Mike Babcock’s credibility and impressive resume, and having a young squad for long-term stability, they can convince Tavares to move back to his hometown and accomplish his dream of playing for the Leafs. Moving from a small market to a big market can put a lot of pressure for the centremen. Toronto media is known to put a lot of attention and pressure towards their players. The option of joining the Leafs could cause a salary cap issue for the team. Tavares wants a long-term contract, which questions the futures of Matthews and Marner.  

Drew Doughty signs a long-term extension with the LA Kings

 

Doughty won two Stanley Cups with the LA Kings. Photo by: Dan Hickling

According to TSN, Drew Doughty and the Los Angeles Kings agreed on an eight-year contract worth $11 million annually. His new contract starts in the 2019-2020 season, which could make him the second-highest paid player in the NHL behind Connor McDavid.

Last season Doughty recorded 60 points and was nominated for the Norris Trophy for the fourth time in his career. The Kings secured Doughty’s signature before he becomes a free agent in 2019-2020.

This could be a tricky situation for the Kings salary-cap. The Kings currently have $3 million of cap space which doesn’t include Doughty’s new $11 million contract.

The team is in a win-now situation, after recently signing Ilya Kovalchuk for $6.25 million annually. They also locked up their star forward, Anze Kopitar, through 2024. It was a good move for the Kings to secure one of the best defensemen in the NHL. After being swept in the first-round by the Vegas Golden Knights, they showed no signs of re-building or starting from scratch by resigning Doughty.

Logan Couture agrees to an extension with the San Jose Sharks

San Jose Sharks' Logan Couture (39) fights for the puck against the Buffalo Sabres in the third period in San Jose, Calif. on Tuesday, March 14, 2017. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
Logan Couture battling the puck against Buffalo. Photo by: Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group

Forward, Logan Couture agreed to an eight-year extension worth about $64 million. The $8 million annual contract will go through until 2027 season. Last season Couture recorded a career-high 34 goals and 61 points through 78 games. The Sharks forward had one-year remaining from the five-year contract that he signed in 2013. His extension could play a role for the John Tavares signing. The Sharks are one of six teams that met with Tavares. According to Craig Custance of The Athletic, the Sharks have all of the talents and tools to convince Tavares. 

One of the things that stood out about this week’s proceedings was the inclusion of Sharks owner Hasso Plattner, who joined Doug Wilson, Joe Will and Pete DeBoer in the San Jose pitch. He’s also the co-founder of SAP and not an owner who typically is very visible. Often at the Board of Governors meetings, it’s Wilson representing the team.”

Couture spent his whole nine-year career with the Sharks recording 437 points in 582 games. He is also just as effective in the playoffs with 81 points in 96 games. He also recorded 30 points in the 2016 playoffs were the Sharks lost it the Stanley Cup Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

 

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