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Elliotte Friedman: “I’ve heard about the idea of buying out John Tavares’ contract”.
Credit: Photo by China Wong/NHLI via Getty Images
John Tavares has been a member of the Maple Leafs for six years now. Back then, there was a big race for his services when he was a free agent, but in the end, he joined his childhood team.

He signed a huge seven-year, $77 million pact.

Since then, Tavares hasn’t been bad, but he hasn’t been great either. He provides the Leafs with good service (he scored the goal that took them into the second round last year), but at $11 million a year, he’s a tad overpaid.

Meanwhile, Toronto is looking for ways to shake up a stagnant core. Trading Mitch Marner and firing Sheldon Keefe and/or Brendan Shanahan (who will, however, be at the press briefing with management on Friday, which seems to confirm that he will keep his job despite rumors that the position of president of hockey operations could be abolished in Toronto) are the ideas that are coming up… but in today’s 32 Thoughts Podcast, Elliotte Friedman raised another possibility:

I’ve heard about the idea of buying out John Tavares’ contract. – Elliotte Friedman

Friedman notes that he’s not convinced the Maple Leafs will opt for such a scenario (although he knows some GMs around the league would seriously consider it), but the idea is gaining traction. He’s not speaking out of turn, after all: if he says he’s been told, then the idea is out there.

The bottom line is that the Maple Leafs wouldn’t gain much financially by buying out Tavares’ contract, which consists mostly of bonuses. In fact, it would have an impact of nearly $10.4 million on the Leafs ‘ payroll in 2024-25 (for not playing in the city), and a small penalty of $300,000 in 2025-26.

Basically, the impact on the payroll would be almost the same, but the difference is that Tavares would be out of town.

(Credit: Screenshot/CapFriendly)

So why would the Maple Leafs do it?

It wouldn’t change the payroll picture, but it would send quite a message to the rest of the organization. – Elliotte Friedman

Especially since we’re not talking about just any high-paid member of the club, but the captain.

Toronto’s results in recent years have not been satisfactory, and with all the big players with non-movement clauses, this limits the possibilities open to the club’s management.

If Marner doesn’t want to lift his no-trade clause, for example, buying out Tavares would be the best way to shock the rest of the team. It would be a small step backwards on the ice, but it would force the guys to understand that things have to change.

We’ll see how things evolve over the next few weeks, but it would really be something to see the Maple Leafs buy out their captain’s contract. And if they do, it won’t (really) be for financial reasons, which would send an even stronger message.

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– Nice read.

– Nothing less.

– For fans of defensive plays.

– There were some very biting jokes.

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