The best of the NHL rarely manage to break free.
Teams tend to re-sign their top players and keep them out of the market and their lists. That leaves a lot of solid veterans and journeymen to the highest bidder trying to find a striker for a second or third line, a defender for a second pair, or perhaps a substitute goalkeeper.
John Tavares is this year The New York Islanders and their new leaders can not convince the 27-year-old center to stay with the franchise that earned it first place in the 2009 standings. Last season he had 84 points, two shots before
The islanders tried to show Tavares how serious they were trying to win and won the Stanley Cup winner Barry Trotz and the Stanley Cup winner of ice hockey Teams Lou Lamoriello. New York may also sign up to Tavares for an eight-year contract, giving him a year more than any other team in the league can give him.
Tavares may want to use his two-way talents elsewhere because he has managed to advance to the playoffs only three times in his nine-year career, only once. When the five-time All-Star decides to leave, he has many options. Toronto, Boston, San Jose, Dallas and Tampa Bay are among his options. Tavares can sign a contract for seven years for more than $ 40 million from each of the teams that try to lure him away from the islanders.
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JAMES VAN RIEMSDYK
The Maple Leafs would love to keep it at the right price, but they may have to let it go to have enough money to bring Tavares home. The 29-year-old winger had 36 goals last season, his sixth in Toronto and the ninth in the league.