The potential 2018 NHL free agent class has some very respectable names. However, no other member of that list comes close to the biggest fish in the sea, John Tavares.
Since being selected by the New York Islanders first-overall in 2009, Tavares has established himself as one of the elite talents in the National Hockey League. With 621 points in 669 games, the Mississauga, Ontario native has experienced plenty of individual success. Still, at 27-years-old, Tavares still longs to be apart of a team that is a consistent contender for the postseason.
Every player’s ultimate goal is to win the Stanley Cup, and it’s unclear whether the Islanders will provide him with the opportunity. This will be a driving factor that prevents Tavares from resigning with New York. If he does indeed choose to test the free agent market, he will have plenty of suitors.
In what looks to be the first offseason in quite some time where the Flyers will have an abundance of cap space, Ron Hextall must pursue Tavares and do whatever he can to bring him to Philadelphia.
— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) April 24, 2018
Though some will partake in a debate and claim that Philadelphia should not go after Tavares, it is impossible to find a legitimate argument for missing out on the opportunity to make the elite center a member of the Flyers. 30-plus goal scorers do not grow on trees and Tavares has gone over the 30 goal mark four times in his nine-year career. He has also gotten close to the feat three other times with 29 goals in 2010-11 and 28 in 2012-13 and 2016-17. Additionally, he’s proven to be as reliable a playmaker as he is a goal scorer dishing 349 assists in his career so far.
On top of all of this, every team knows what they are getting when they throw an obnoxious amount of money at Tavares. With franchises that have been going through a rebuild over the past few years, such as the Flyers, there has been so much uncertainty surrounding promising prospects and how the team will perform. Bring in a stud like Tavares, and you know that you are putting a better team out on the ice next season.
Now it is very accurate that Philadelphia already has an incredible top-line center in Sean Couturier and a top-notch youngster in Nolan Patrick. However, debt at the center position is never a bad thing. Yes, if Tavares were to come to Philadelphia, he would without a doubt be the team’s new number one center. This would mean slotting Couturier on the second line and Patrick on the third line. Though at first sight, these moves could appear as a demotion and disrespectful, it would all be in the name of making the team better. Couturier and Patrick would arguably be going up against inferior matchups, increasing their opportunities for success.
As I mentioned earlier, there will be a lot of suitors for Tavares’s services this summer. It is unclear how high Philadelphia’s chances are at landing him, but they do provide some intrigue. The cap space offers room to afford him, and the team is moving in the direction of becoming legitimate contenders in the NHL. Of course, there could be a situation that turns out to be more appealing for Tavares. However, as long as Philadelphia shows a lot of interest, they should be an organization that receives some consideration.