By Matthew Cunha,
Step one: meet with John Tavares. Check. The Bruins met with the prized free agent last night according to TSN’s Darren Dreger. Tavares met with who I would peg as the favorites yesterday in the Toronto Maple Leafs, along with his former-team, the Islanders. He is also reportedly meeting with the Dallas Stars, Tampa Bay Lightning, and San Jose Sharks.
Tavares notched 37 goals last season with 47 assists for 84 points. Multiple times Tavares has finished third in MVP voting. Tavares has more than 66 points each of the last five seasons and has won just one playoff round as part of the Islanders after being the 1st overall pick in 2009. The 27-year-old is a stud, who has failed to win due to being on an awful team. Adding him to the Bruins would be a dream scenario and perhaps the biggest free agent get in Bruins history. A true game changer for the B’s.
This is what I imagine the Bruins pitch to the All-Star was:
#1 WINNING –
The Bruins finished in 2nd place in the Eastern conference without him. With the best line in hockey in Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak still kicking around, plus adding Tavares, that’s a recipe for Stanley Cup contention. Plus, the young guys on this team will only be better. DeBrusk, McAvoy, Donato etc… will all be more developed NHL players. The 1-2 combo of Tavares and Bergeron will have most NHL teams in limbo. Winning is something Tavares can’t count on in New York.
#2 Young Core –
It will likely take a 7-year contract around $11-mil per year to lure Tavares. With $11.5-million on the books, the Bruins would have to make room. But with Backes and his $6-mil contract rumored to be shipped out along with possibly Krejci’s $7-mil and Krug’s $5-mil, the B’s would be left with plenty of space, as just moving one of those would be enough. That winning thing can be promised to Tavares for not just right now with Bergeron and Chara, but in the future with Marchand, Pastrank, McAvoy, Debrusk, Donato, Carlo etc… throughout the tenure of his deal. Not just a Cup Run in ’18-’19, but a cup run in ’23-’24. Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak-Tavares now, Tavares-DeBrusk-Donato later. How is that not something Tavares can get excited about.
#3 Tradition and a Hockey Town –
Having played as the 2nd fiddle in New York, Tavares will surely be blown away by the tradition of the spoked B. Not to mention, the people in Boston will actually give a crap about the team. But not care as much as the lunatics in Canada. A perfect mix for Mr. Tavares.
#4 FRIENDSHIP –
Taveres has played with Bergeron and Marchand on Team Canada. It has also been rumored Bergeron and Taveras are best of buds. Bergeron, the team guy, would have zero problem handing over the #1 center role to Taveras if that’s what he wants. In fact, I can already see the two doing whatever needed to win the cup. It would allow Bergeon to spend more time stopping the #1 guy on the other team. Tavares could focus on scoring or vice versa if Tavares wants a more all-around role. Either way you put it, Bergeron and Tavares become besties.
Matthew Cunha is a producer of The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.