Trade John Tavares

By Errol Marks

Trade John Tavares

by Danny Radical

Understand that typing such a headline disgusted me.

John Tavares is a great hockey player. Statistically, a top 10 center in the NHL- NHL network put him as #6 in the league ( over guys like Steven Stamkos, Anze Kopitar, Jonathan Toews, and even budding Isles 2016-2017 MVP Josh Bailey.

Was that last comparison a joke? Yes, if you know anything about hockey. But #IslesKoolAid used Twitter during the 2016-17 season to lobby for Josh Bailey as being the straw that stirs the Islanders drink. Then again, these are the same morons that wouldn't trade Devon Toews for Jonathan Toews. But I digress as I ponder how stupid those guys are.

Anyway, why would you trade a top 10 center in the NHL? Why trade the team's only all star and an Olympian on the greatest Olympic team in the world? Ask John Tavares.

Not John Tavares the hockey player. Ask his uncle, John Tavares. That John Tavares is the greatest indoor lacrosse scorer of all time. His statistics are Gretzky-like: 344 games played, 899 goals, 1050 assists, 4 championships, 3 MVP's. That's who John Tavares the NHL player is supposed to be. After all, there is a rule named after Tavares that lowered the entry age into the OHL, and proposed the same for the AHL and NHL for exceptional players.

Uncle John played a 23-year career for the Buffalo Bandits and posted the greatest numbers in professional lacrosse history. Younger John should look to his Uncle winning 4 titles in a sport while playing his career for just one team, and ask his uncle, "Can the Islanders win a title with me, and the current management?"

And his uncle would say "No, John. No, you won't. You will never NEVER win a Stanley Cup if you play for the Islanders under the General Management of Garth Snow. Because Garth Snow is a buffoon." Want a list of reasons? Just look up the Garth Snow trade tracker here:

Tavares' representatives had to state publically in late August that Tavares and the Islanders have not exchanged any ideas towards a new contract after Islander legend Mike Bossy had gone to Canadian media and claimed that Tavares turned down an 8 year, $10.5 million per year offer. Instead, Tavares is rumored to be looking for a new arena for the team in Nassau County. For some reason, this reminds me of Mike Hampton signing in Colorado because they have better elementary schools than Manhattan. On Earth 2, apparently.

There are two sides to this contract offer story. Either someone leaked the negotiations and Bossy spoke out about it, which would be normal as per a negotiation and the media. Or Tavares' agent is being honest, and the Islanders stupidly have not reached out to make an offer because they are consumed with consulting civil engineer Garth Snow about building an extra local arena but not about building a winning team.

Wait, did I say that the Islander haven't made their most important player an offer? Crazy, you'd say. What kind of clueless management would not even make offers to their most important players, you'd ask. Well, 13 months ago Kyle Okposo, the second most important player - and a Neil Smith draft pick- on the Islanders roster at the time, never received a contract offer from the Islanders. Not that there was a failed negotiation. THERE WAS NEVER AN OFFER. Neither did 1/3 of the best 4th line in hockey, Matt Martin, a Garth Snow draft pick. And maybe even more insulting than that, Frans Neilsen - a Mike Milbury draft pick- got an offer, but took a smaller offer to leave the Island for the Red Wings. Point is, Garth Snow has a record of not even making offers to career Islanders. Which is in tandem both stupid and bridge burning. Understand that Mike Milbury once made a player cry in arbitration, and even he would call Snow's tactics rude. Because Garth Snow is a buffoon.

However, Garth Snow DID make offers to Thomas Vanek for 7 years at $7m per, made Christian Ehrhoff an offer north of 5 years and $25 million, north of $9m for 2 years of Dan Boyle, and $20m for 5 years of Andrew MacDonald. All of those were plan A. Ehrhoff, Vanek and MacDonald would still all be under contract until at least 2020. None of them saw an NHL end to the similar contracts that they signed with other teams. Because Garth Snow is a buffoon.

Also, $10.5 million to Tavares (or maybe even more) will cripple this very lacking, very needy 2016-17 lottery team. You know what the Islanders need? A top 2 defenseman. A solid top 6 center. Additional first round draft picks. They do NOT need to tie up 14.7% of their salary cap to one guy (which is more than 3 time Cup winner, former MVP and better player Sydney Crosby earns), when 7% goes to Andrew Ladd, 7% goes to Nick Leddy, 7% goes to Johnny Boychuk, and almost 10% goes to the FOURTH LINE. Add in Nicolai Kulemin, and that's 50% of your salary cap ceiling. Also, what contributors on this team have a contract that lasts beyond 2019?

But there's help coming down the pipe, Islanders fans may say. After all, Garth Snow had top 5 picks in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014. And what did he do? Traded away the pick in 2008, then traded away his picks from 2010, 2011, and 2012. What was the return? A 4th liner, a 20 goal scorer, and a mid first round pick. And 2017 MVP Josh Bailey. Jesus.

So back to the title, trade John Tavares. But for what? Let us look at precedent. This isn't the first time an elite player has been traded. Jaromir Jagr was traded in his prime. Eric Lindros was traded twice before he took the ice. Hall of Famer Paul Coffey changed teams seemingly weekly. And of course, the Great One, Wayne Gretzky, was traded after scoring 540 points (!) in the 3 seasons preceding his trade, only to score the first 168 after.

What was the haul for the Great One? A 100 point scorer, 3 first round picks, a top prospect, and cash.
And how about Islander history? The Islanders have traded Pat LaFontaine, Pierre Turgeon, Kirk Muller, Wade Redden, Bryan Berard, Tommy Salo, Felix Potvin, Brent Sutter, Ziggy Palffy, Mariuz Czerkawski, and even a top 5 pick on draft day, which has happened just one other time in the last 15 years, by a GM who was fired shortly thereafter. ( Even star players get traded more than once every 15 years, right Phil Kessel? Jeff Carter? Thomas Vanek? James Neal? Martin St. Louis? PK Subban? Shea Weber? Ben Bishop? Keith Yandle?

So, JT. To trade John Tavares, here is what your return would need to be. A top pairing defenseman. Two first round picks. The best offensive prospect in any organizations system around the age of 20, which should be a roster player.
How did I come to this conclusion? Here you go.

The Islanders have two defensemen signed long term, Nick Leddy, and Johnny Boychuk. Boychuk is aging, and his game shows it. Leddy, however, is a young guy with a decade of great ahead of him. So the Islanders need a partner for him which would allow Boychuk to be in a secondary role, where he'd pair well with a mobile defenseman, and push guys like Ryan Pulock or Adam Pelech to a third pairing role, which makes the defense deeper.

Next up, a young player that can score 20 goals. Will it replace Tavares? No. But It will give cap relief to a team that will have to rebuild and provides talent that will speed up a rebuild. Kind of like how when the Islanders traded the 5th overall in 2008, they should have looked for an NHL player instead of fringe 12 goal a year NHL'er that has sent to the AHL during his career only to return completely unchanged from the experience.

So I'm sure you're saying, where will the Islanders find this kind of bounty? Where they've recently shopped, actually. Calgary.

My suggestion? John Tavares, Adam Pelech and Calgary's second round pick in 2018 to Calgary for Dougie Hamilton, Sean Monahan, their 2020 second round pick, and their 2021 first round pick.

Wait, didn't you say Tavares is worth 2 first round picks? Yes, yes I did. So why include Pelech and a second round pick? Based on NHL standards, Pelech has a reasonable contract with plenty of team control. And based on his production, he is overpaid for the next 4 years. Plus, Calgary is losing a top pairing guy, so they may want a guy to eat minutes in the that is a current 5-6/potential 4 defenseman.

Tavares will command roughly $11 million a year, and Pelech $1.6m. Combined salaries: about $12.6m for the next 4 years.

And Monahan? He's 22, a former 30 goal scorer, can slot either as a 1C or 2C, has a contract running through 2023, costs about 60% of what Tavares will, and allows the Islanders to chase a UFA in 2018 when the Bailey, Kulemin, Halak, and DeHaan deals expire. From addition by subtraction, the Islanders will free $16m from the salary cap. Maybe they consider Matt Duchene? Maybe they promote their top 5 picks, Matthew Dal Colle? Maybe they see what their last 11 years of rebuild drafting can deliver on at the expense of overpaid underperformers?

Back to the deal. The oft traded Hamilton slots nicely in the Islanders top pairing, or second pairing if the Islanders decide to put a more of a stay at home defenseman next to Leddy. He has an offensive touch, shores up the top 4, and comes in at under $6m a season for the next 4 years. A pairing of Hamilton Boychuk is pretty enticing and prolongs the effectiveness of Boychuk. And if Islanders go Hamilton Leddy? Then Boychuk plays a year with DeHaan, then breaks in a partner- possibly a UFA- for 2019.

Combined salaries for Hamilton and Monahan? $12.125m for the next 4 years.
And why picks in 2020 and 2021? Because the next GM of the Islanders deserves a chance to make the team in his image. Next GM? If Tavares will not sign with the Islanders, it signals the end of the 'Garth Snow is a complete bag of useless" era. And to be fair, Snow should have been fired 4 years ago.

And Calgary? They gain back a draft pick that they just traded for their upcoming season. This matters because the West is starting to become the "Wild West," where Chicago has shown that they are vulnerable, and an 8 seed (from the West) went to a cup final again for the second time in 6 years. A high-level pick, which a second is, is a vital pick for stockpiling future needs for your team, as you're still picking one of the 60 best players in the draft. Tavares with Gaudreau is finally the winger that Tavares has deserved to play with since the exciting Vanek Tavares Okposo line. Tavares has his buddy Travis Hamonic already on the team. Canada gets back John Tavares without the spotlight of Toronto or Montreal. Tavares gets paid, and likely has a better chance of competing for a Stanley Cup outside of the East, and away from Garth Snow's incompetence.

And for the #IslesKoolAid people who say "if you think Snow is so bad, then you do his job!" Well clearly, you missed my blog where I applied for Garth Snow's job. Because I can most certainly do it better.

In short, in this proposed deal, Calgary would receive an elite #1 center, at the cost of a good forward and a very good defenseman. They would swap 2 draft picks for one. They would fill in a spot at D. They would have a formidable first line, and a still very good top 4 defense. Their minor leagues would not be compromised. I don't care about any of that mind you because I am an Islander fan, but it would be a trade that would not hurt Calgary in either the short or long run.
And the Islanders? It would allow them to chase either a 1C or a 2C via free agency to replace Tavares, as well as you can. It would fortify the Islanders defense without costing any other trade chips. It would give Matthew Barzal a chance to either shine or bust in the short run. As a Snow top 5 draft pick developed by the Islanders, expect a bust. It would keep the Islanders competitive in the short run and maybe the long run if the GM is fired and replaced by a salad, a tornado, a tree sloth, or a breathing human being. It would improve the team in 2 spots and allow them to chase a top free agent- maybe even John Tavares if Calgary doesn't come to terms by July.

And most importantly, it ends that complete nonsense that the reason Tavares hasn't signed with the Islanders isn't yet another summer of inactivity by Garth Snow but rather because there aren't 3 arenas within 30 miles of each other. For the record folks, it's not the arena. It's the guy fielding the team. Never has someone done so little with so much and stayed employed.

In conclusion, I understand that unless Brad Treliving called Garth Snow with that offer, it would not happen. I would hate to lose JT. However, JT has spent 8 years being an Islander, on some god awful teams. I want to see John Tavares be a winner. He can't do it here under these conditions with this talent and this team builder. Because Garth Snow is a buffoon. And honestly, Snow could never conceive a deal like this, because a vast majority of his NHL trades are a marginal player for a draft pick. Bill Guerin for a 3rd. Christian Ehrhoff's rights for a 4th. Johnny Boychuk for two 2nds. I'd type more but my fingers are numb. Look at it for yourselves, it goes on and on.

So let me end with two things- a suggestion and a prediction.

Suggestion - if I am John Tavares, I sign a 3 year, $15m deal with Pittsburgh. the Penguins do a great job with cap management. Imagine Tavares is only good enough to be your third line center? And imagine the nightmare an opposing coach will have with facing a power play of Tavares, Crosby, Kessel, Malkin, and whomever? He'll have his name on a cup within 3 years, and probably more than once. And he gets to sign a 7 year $10m deal anywhere he wants to after. Maybe like Revis or Lebron, he comes back home.

Now, prediction- The Islanders will make a request for proposal to New York State for a new arena and hotel complex at Belmont. New York government will do something stupid because that is all that they are capable of. It will take years to clear up. This is perfect for Tavares, who doesn't want a spotlight but wants to leave. 14000 fans will notice the exodus. 13800 will blame Tavares because they are #IslesKoolAid. They will boo him for the rest of his career because he wanted to win and they didn't. In the end, there may or may not be an arena in Belmont. My guess is not. Either way, Tavares walks. So trade him now and give the fans a chance to cheer for the 8th seed that they expect and love. Which is usually more of the same.

Follow Danny Radical on Twitter at @JoshBarely