TSN’s Gord Miller joined a radio show on Wednesday and discussed possible landing spots for John Tavares. His contract is set to expire and he has yet to make a deal with the New York Islanders.
For awhile, there was apparently no interest from Buffalo and this was nothing but a pipe dream for Sabres fans. Many believe he’d be looking to move closer to his home in Canada, making a team like the Toronto Maple Leafs that much more appetizing.
But after winning the Draft Lottery and having a strong core in place, Miller believes that Buffalo is a realistic landing spot for Tavares.
Would the additions of John Tavares and Rasmus Dahlin make the #Sabres a playoff contender in 2018-19?
— BuffaloHockeyCentral (@BHCdotcom) May 17, 2018
UPDATE: Darren Dreger was on WGR550 on Friday morning and apparently did not have the same view as Miller did above, saying that there’s now way Tavares will end up in Buffalo.
Dreger – I think the chances of Tavares signing in Buffalo are as close to 0% as you can get. I’m not suggesting he doesn’t give Buffalo consideration, but they would be further down his list. #Sabres
— WGR 550 (@WGR550) May 18, 2018
Our take: That’s not positive news from Dreger, but anything can happen.
What Miller said does make sense, but we’ve seen this before with other players, too. In the past few years, players from other teams have been anticipating a turnaround in Buffalo and wanted to be a part of it.
Ryan O’Reilly was one of them, but has been disappointed in himself since it hasn’t happened. Kyle Okposo was another. Even guys like Brian Gionta and Josh Gorges signed with the intention of the team becoming a playoff contender within the next couple of years.
Obviously, that hasn’t happened. So, while he is an elite center, what makes this situation with Tavares any different? Are the Sabres really that much closer to turning things around?
Either way, it’s worth a shot. The addition of Dahlin could go a long way in helping not only the team’s success, but the interest from Tavares.
Tavares’ career stats:
Tavares has said that he’s focused on winning, so he’d really need to believe that the Sabres are on the right track. Maybe they actually are this time.
Toronto head coach Mike Babcock stated that he believes the Sabres are in a much better position than his Maple Leafs were when he took over as coach two years ago. After missing out on the postseason in 10 of 11 seasons, the Maple Leafs have made the playoffs in each of the last two years, although they lost in the first round both times.
Tavares will turn 28 just before the start of next season, and is most likely in his prime. His cap hit right now is $5.5M, but that number would likely rise if he tests free agency.
He does have former linemate Kyle Okposo who could help recruit him, but nothing is set in stone here. We shouldn’t get our hopes up about Tavares, but Buffalo should no longer be ruled out of this summer’s sweepstakes.
Imagine landing Dahlin and Tavares for a minute, though.
Maybe Buffalo could win the offseason.