In recent news, the Chicago Blackhawks have been tied to the New York Islanders’ franchise center, John Tavares. Elliotte Friedman, a Canadian sports journalist and a regular panelist on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada, was the latest to make a connection between Tavares and the Blackhawks. Friedman said,
“They’re not going to tolerate being that bad again, they’re going to try something. I think they’ll make a run at John Tavares too. I do, i think they’ll ask, is there any way we can get him here?”
Friedman is absolutely right. There is no way in hell that the Blackhawks’ organization will allow the dumpster fire that was the 2017-18 season to happen again. Now I know someone somewhere is saying, “Crawford was injured for most of the season.” While Crawford is very important to the Blackhawks, he only plays one position. Every single player and coach on the team failed to live up to the expectations that were placed on them. 2017-18 was a total loss on all ends. No ifs, ands, or buts.
In one of my previous articles, I had mentioned that Stan Bowman is well aware of the hot seat that he has created for himself, and this offseason, he is looking to do something drastic in order to save his behind.
Enter John Tavares.
John Tavares Sweepstakes
Come one, come all. The John Tavares sweepstakes are now underway. The price tag on a player of Tavares’ caliber is well worth it. He is the total package, and his offensive and defensive awareness are off the charts. To put it simply, Tavares makes your players better and your team better. To get a better idea of how good John Tavares is, check out these stellar numbers.
Scor Scor Scor Goal Assi Shot Shot Ice Ice Season Age Tm Lg GP G A PTS +/- PIM GW PP S S% TOI ATOI FOW FO% Awards 2009-10 19 NYI NHL 82 24 30 54 -15 22 2 14 186 12.9 1477 18:00 536 47.5 Calder-5 2010-11 20 NYI NHL 79 29 38 67 -16 53 4 15 243 11.9 1521 19:15 681 52.5 2011-12 21 NYI NHL 82 31 50 81 -6 26 8 18 286 10.8 1687 20:34 813 51.3 AS-6Byng-17Selke-38 2012-13 22 NYI NHL 48 28 19 47 -2 18 5 7 162 17.3 997 20:46 459 49.4 AS-4Byng-16Hart-3Selke-25 2013-14 23 NYI NHL 59 24 42 66 -6 40 4 17 188 12.8 1253 21:15 554 49.1 Hart-18 2014-15 24 NYI NHL 82 38 48 86 5 46 8 18 278 13.7 1695 20:40 753 52.2 AS-1Byng-27Hart-3Selke-46 2015-16 25 NYI NHL 78 33 37 70 6 38 5 12 250 13.2 1560 20:00 741 54.1 AS-10Byng-32Hart-13 2016-17 26 NYI NHL 77 28 38 66 4 38 3 11 260 10.8 1572 20:25 824 50.6 AS-7Byng-45Selke-8 2017-18 27 NYI NHL 82 37 47 84 -12 26 3 18 257 14.4 1634 19:56 913 52.9 Career NHL 669 272 349 621 -42 307 42 130 2110 12.9 13395 20:01 6274 51.3
If you are not really a numbers person, don’t worry about it. I have you covered. Here is a compilation of John Tavares’ greatest hits for you instead.
As you can see, Tavares is the real deal and a proven leader. He is a beast on both ends of the ice and preys on opponents’ mistakes. He has that killer instinct and can score from just about anywhere, and also, creates for his teammates. Another thing Tavares brings to the table is his experience in the brightest lights and on the biggest stages, as he has participated in the NHL playoffs on three different occasions and also played for Team Canada in international play. What is not to like? I will go ahead and answer that for you – nothing.
How Does Tavares Fit in Chicago?
Free Agency officially begins July 1st and John Tavares is an unrestricted free agent. As soon as Free Agency starts, anything goes. Now, I know that you are probably thinking there is no way that the Blackhawks can afford Tavares. Not true and I will show you how.
In my article about the Blackhawks’ 2018 offseason priorities, I discussed affordable free agent targets and I also mentioned that the NHL salary cap is expected to increase anywhere from $78-82 million this year. It is looking like it will be around $80 million. Either way, the increase would benefit the Blackhawks’ cap space situation. The Blackhawks will have between $8-12 million in cap space burning a hole in their pockets this offseason. There are a number of situations that would allow for the Blackhawks to bring John Tavares onboard. Let me break it down for you and show you what I believe is the most realistic path to Tavares.
First, the salary cap increases to $80 million. Second, Marian Hossa’s remaining cap hit problem can be alleviated a few different ways. My plan is to find a trade partner who is looking to meet the salary cap floor, such as the Arizona Coyotes or Florida Panthers. I went with the Arizona Coyotes. Third, find a trade partner for Artem Anisimov. In this case, I ended up trading Anisimov to Florida and I held onto $550,000 of his salary. Next, I signed UFA Ian Cole (D) to a 1-year contract worth $2.5 million and I re-signed Anthony Duclair, John Hayden, and Vinnie Hinostroza all to 3-year deals worth $1.5 million per year. I “drafted” defenseman Quinn Hughes 8th overall, and then, signed him to a 3-year entry level deal worth $800,000 per year. Then, I finally signed UFA John Tavares to a 5-year deal worth $10 million per year.
After trading Hossa and Anisimov, and signing Tavares, Cole, Duclair, Hayden, and Hinostroza, I also made a few roster moves. I assigned Victor Ejdsell, Dylan Sikura, David Kampf, and Collin Delia to the Chicago Blackhawks’ active roster and sent Anton Forsberg down to the Rockford IceHogs.
My Proposed 2018-19 Chicago Blackhawks Roster
After all of my moves, this is what my roster looks like.
I made this visual of my proposed team via Cap Friendly.
After every move, I ended up with $1,849,455 in cap space for the 2018-19 season. Not bad for a day’s work, right? If Stan Bowman really wanted to save his behind and get back into contention quickly, my plan or something similar to it should be highly considered.