TLN Top 20 Leafs: #4 John Tavares

To say last year didn’t end how John Tavares wanted it to is probably the biggest understatement I could make. After captaining the Leafs to a division title, there was a lot of hope heading into the post season, and while the Leafs didn’t make it out of the first round, a freak accident meant Tavares didn’t make it out of the first period of Game One, and while disappointing, the only thought that comes to mind about Tavares is that it could have been so much worse and the fact that he’s back at 100% to start the 2021-22 season is one of the reasons for hope this year.
Like the next three Leafs on our list, Tavares was exclusively ranked at the top of the Leafs list. Some three rankings, some four rankings, a couple of fives from our contributors that value defense and goaltender, but for me Tavares is the 2nd best Leaf (I’ll leave you to guess who’s #1.) My ranking, like I’d hope most of our contributors rankings was based in person preference, and for me I’ll take a center over a winger any day, and I think round …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Stop the slander, John Tavares is absolutely worth his contract

When John Tavares signed his seven-year, $77-million contract on July 1, 2018, fans across the nation were ecstatic. The Leafs landed the biggest fish in free agency that year. The “rebuild” phase of the team’s ascent from the ashes of the old regime was over, the team now had bonafide superstars, plural, and were poised to become contenders.
Now, three seasons and a pretty significant shift in the status quo of the planet Earth later, a small but growing and very vocal minority of the fanbase want to get rid of the team’s captain. Some of their main arguments against Tavares and his contract being that “he’s not worth $11 million per season,” “they didn’t need another scoring forward,” and “it’s too much for a player who’s already past his prime.”
And the people saying these things are objectively wrong.
Let’s start with the obvious: as a Maple Leaf, Tavares has 92 goals and 198 total points in 201 regular season games. He is quite literally just under a point per game and has been top three in team scoring during each of his seasons with the team. This is not a player who is past his prime with …

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Author: Dylan Murphy / The Leafs Nation

It’s time to admit the Islanders are a better TEAM than the Leafs

The decision by John Tavares in Summer 2018 to leave the New York Islanders and join his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs ignited a war between fan bases that had not been seen since when Darcy Tucker blew out Mike Peca’s knee in the 2002 playoffs. The move ensured the two teams would be compared against each other for years, as the fortunes of both franchises were set to be significantly impacted by JT’s switch.
Hurt and incapable of processing it healthily, Islanders fans couldn’t, or wouldn’t, comprehend why their captain would leave a team that had made the playoffs just thrice in his nine years with the club, despite him being one of the leading scorers in the league during his tenure as an Isle. Fans burned his jerseys, called him childish names, filmed truly cringeworthy spite videos, and shouted hateful chants at him in his return to Long Island. In every way they looked like the losers.
But the New York Islanders just made the third round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second year in a row.
Now, I don’t think losing John Tavares was the key that unlocked the Islanders’ success, although Isles …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

Leafs look to maintain momentum in Montreal

Following a terrifying injury to captain John Tavares, which left the team understandably shaken and led to a 2-1 Montreal win to start the series, the Leafs bounced back in a big way Saturday night, with Jack Campbell backstopping the team to a 5-1 dominant win. The series now tied at 1-1, the Buds head to Montreal tonight for the first game in a back-to-back, hoping to keep that momentum going to take a series lead.
While Carey Price was definitely the reason the Habs won game 1, he was also arguably at least part of the reason they lost game 2. Of course, the Leafs were buzzing, with lines clicking, passes connecting, and the defense keeping the Habs to only 23 SOG for the entire game. It was a dominant showing for the Leafs, and they’ll definitely be looking to replicate it tonight.
Meanwhile, it seems the Habs are looking to make some changes to help them recover from the 5-1 loss:

Cole Caufield replaces an injured Eric Staal in the #habs lineup for Game 3.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) May 24, 2021

Cole Caufield confirms he will play Game 3 for MON. Based on skate lines, Tomas Tatar is out.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) May 24, 2021

Tomas …

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Author: Mer / The Leafs Nation

The Leafs and the playoffs, there’s nothing better

Well, the Leafs did it. They won game two for John Tavares. And guess what’s next — winning 15 more so they can do the thing.
Auston Matthews with three points, William Nylander with a goal, Jason Spezza with a goal, Rasmus Sandin with his first-ever playoff goal, and Alexander Kerfoot with one too. I hope you enjoy tonight’s video.

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Author: Nick Barden / The Leafs Nation

Leafs face the difficult challenge of a lineup without John Tavares

First and foremost, there’s no replacing John Tavares. The Leafs don’t have a point per game center sitting around, nor a spare leader and captain. The loss of Tavares makes the Leafs roster worse, but that isn’t a call for him to return at anything less than 100%. We’ll put our faith in the Leafs organization and their doctors that they will first do right by Tavares, and the roster is a second thought.
In fact when we, as a TLN team, started discussing what the new lines could look like, the one thing that came through loud and clear from our group is the need to emphasize how important it is to do right by Tavares, and after that terrifying incident we just want the captain to be okay.
John Tavares has since provided the following update:

pic.twitter.com/XiHjGvSewg
— John Tavares (@91Tavares) May 21, 2021

We’ll definitely take that as a positive sign for his recovery, and again we wish him all the best.
The Leafs have begun reorganizing themselves to begin to manage their roster without the captain, the lines at practice were as follows:

#Leafs lines at practice:
Hyman-Matthews-Marner Galchenyuk-Foligno-NylanderEngvall-Kerfoot-MikheyevThornton-Spezza-Simmonds
Rielly-BrodieMuzzin-HollSandin-Bogosian
AndersenRittich
Absent: …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leafs by the Numbers: John Tavares

John Tavares scored 26 goals in 63 games in what is largely being treated as a down year for him. Somehow 60 points in 63 games is a cause for concern, and we are now questioning whether he is the right player to captain the Leafs, and if this is part of a steeper decline in his game now that Tavares has hit the magic 3-0 age milestone, and with an $11M annual cap hit the panic seems to be starting early on JT.
Given the panic, Tavares’ number is 5. There are five years remaining on John’s contract with the Leafs, and it’s entirely possible we’re going to hear about more and more about Tavares for the next five years with an increasing number of people painting this as a bad contract, or bad signing.
So let’s start off with one universal truth, Tavares isn’t a bargain, and as an unrestricted free agent he certainly cashed in at his maximum value. Tavares is going to be a great player for the Leafs, but expectations about living up to $11M contracts are better focused on players like Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner who received those deals as restricted free agents …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Leafs players make a delicious word salad

John Tavares: “It’s been a pretty miserable couple of days.”#Leafs end-of-season media availability is underway. Players first, Dubas/Shanahan/Keefe this afternoon.
— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) August 12, 2020

If you are looking to seek comfort in anything said today you are heading down a path to disappointment. There’s hope that Keefe, Dubas, and Shanahan might provide some optimism this afternoon, but players are going to slip into cliche mode and at best let a couple of disheartening truths slip out. That was the case today. Here’s a small sampling of what was said today.

Barrie, heading for UFA: “At this point, I have no idea what the future holds.” #Leafs
— Terry Koshan (@koshtorontosun) August 12, 2020

That likely means that Barrie has his bags packed, his condo up for sale, but he’s not sure what city he’ll be pointing the moving truck in the direction of. There’s never been anything either from Barrie or the Leafs showing this relationship will continue, so goodbye Barrie.

Freddie Andersen on affects of upcoming contract season: “What I’ve learned lately is to just control what I can control.”
— Justin Cuthbert (@jccuthbert) …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

What to expect from John Tavares this summer

John Tavares came to the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 1, 2018 fully knowing the weight of the franchise was going to be placed on his shoulders the moment he signed a 7-year, $77 million contract to come home. Giddiness was in abundance in Leafs Land as the team had added, for nothing more than cap space, a key complement to their young and talented forward trio of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander.
It would have been understandable for Tavares to not live up to the hype and hyperbole, but instead he proceeded to completely shatter all expectations in his first year with the club, posting career highs in goals (47) and points (88) as the Leafs finished tied for seventh in the end of season standings with the league’s fourth-ranked offence and eight-ranked powerplay.
The club made him captain on opening night of the 2019-20, and from there things got a little rocky (by Tavares’ standards).
By the numbers
Since joining the Leafs, Tavares has undeniably been a top-15 centre over that timeframe. His 0.50 goals-per-game places him 6th among centres (tied with Nathan MacKinnon) and his 1.02 points-per-game places him 14th, ahead of players like Sebastian Aho, Elias Pettersson, Sean …

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Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation

John Tavares, Toronto Maple Leafs teammates make donation to COVID-19 relief

Led by captain John Tavares, a group of Toronto Maple Leafs players has donated an undisclosed amount of money to support front-line workers at hospitals in the Toronto area.

The report was issued by The Canadian Press Friday saying the funds would be going towards Trillium Health Partners and Mount Sinai Hospital with the funds being delivered to each hospitals’ respective foundations for distribution.
“Everything they’re sacrificing and the risks that they’re taking … it’s very moving and it’s very heroic. At times it’s hard to find the words.”
“It was great the way guys came together with this initiative. We’ve seen through many other sports, many other athletes trying to find ways to help any way they can.” – John Tavares to The Canadian Press
At Trillium Health Partners, the funds will see front-line workers receive a free post-meal shift for each of the 10,000 front-line employees at the hospital’s three campuses in Mississauga, The Canadian Press reported. Each worker will also receive a gift card to be used for Uber Eats.
At Mount Sinai, The Canadian Press reported …

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Author: Zach Laing / The Leafs Nation