Maple Leafs win free agency by signing John Tavares
The Kyle Dubas regime is off to a fantastic start after he landed one of the biggest free agents in league history, signing John Tavares to a monstrous seven-year, $77 million deal. Coming off his second 80-point season in four years, Tavares — who has scored 30 percent of his career goals with the man advantage — will join a power play that already has Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner and ranked second in the league last season. If Matthews and Tavares score 40-plus goals apiece as some pundits predict, they'll be the first teammates to do so since Evgeni Malkin and James Neal with Pittsburgh in 2012-13.
Sharks GM Doug Wilson lost out on the Tavares sweepstakes but didn't waste any time moving onto Plan B. Couture is now signed through 2026-27 with an $8 million cap hit, Hertl's inked through 2022 and Thornton continues his tradition of signing one-year deals — this time for $5 million. In a weak Pacific Division, the Sharks should finish second at worst, backed by a trio of elite performers with Couture entering his age-30 season, Joe Pavelski at 34 and Brent Burns being 33. Naturally, their pricey contracts will yield less value as their skills decline, but with Evander Kane, 26, and Tomas Hertl, 24, they should be able to extend that window for a few more seasons. Team