Prize free agent winger John Tavares has left the building Islander fans.
The superstar left wing has been confirmed by the NY Post to have signed with his boyhood idol team the Toronto Maple Leafs.
JT, as he was affectionately known as, was emotional in talking about his final decision. “The island, the fans, the organization, my teammates will always be special to me and my family,” Tavares wrote in a statement.
Tavares, who will turn 28 by the time the season starts, grew up in nearby Mississauga, Ontario, and he even tweeted a picture of himself as a child sleeping in a bed of Maple Leafs sheets, with the caption: “Not everyday you can live a childhood dream.”
Not everyday you can live a childhood dream pic.twitter.com/YUTKdfMALl
— John Tavares (@91Tavares) July 1, 2018
This is a crushing blow to the New York Islanders who just recently were trending upwards with the bringing in of long time Devils architect Lou Lamoriello as General Manager and Head Coach Barry Trotz, fresh off Coaching the Washington Capitals to a Stanley Cup.
The loss of Tavares cannot be overstated as his vacancy leaves a giant crater size hole in the Islanders lineup. This is a top 3-5 talent in all of the NHL escaping away. As this article is being drafted, the numbers are not yet certain what and for how many years Tavares’ Leafs contract is for, but it most certainly will be a mammoth deal.
It was reported last night that the Islanders did make a substantial last minute offer of 8 years for Tavares to stay an Islander, but it was not to be. Tavares was drafted #1 overall back in 2009 and has been the Islanders most consistent and most popular player bar none in his nine years in the blue and orange.
Today is a dark day in the history of the Islanders, but only time will tell if Tavares’ departure for his childhood team was for better, or for worse.