If John Tavares was Drafted by the… Maple Leafs.
Recently, Eklund from HockeyBuzz speculated that Brian Burke has contacted New York Islander GM, Garth Snow regarding their first round pick next year. As of today, the Islanders are projected to have the best chances at landing the 1st overall NHL draft pick; and thus, John Tavares. I rarely take Eklund’s rumors seriously and this one is no different. His recent rumors did not affect the subject for this blog – I was going to comment on an unlikly but potential Tavares-to-the-Leafs situation anyway.I mean, why not? They tried once already.
If Brian Burke somehow managed to steal the #1 overall pick from the New York Isladers or whoever, people will riot. They will start planning the parade. They will make Brian Burke the premiere of Ontario (nice picture). They will go absolutely crazy. Around here, John Tavares is already a hero. Growing up in Oakville and playing the majority of his OHL in Oshawa, he has been around the Greater Toronto Area his whole life. This has led to his entire hockey career to this point to be heavily documented and force fed to everyone from baseball to curling fans.
If Tavares is drafted by the Leafs, there is no doubt that the team will be built around him. The Leafs are also cutting salary this season (Pavel Kubina) and should be able to sign a few pretty decent free agents (Mike Cammalleri). Under Ron Wilson, Tavares should flourish – not right away, but eventually. Wilson has a good reputation with working with young kids and knows how to develop them.
Tavares is an impact player and he will make an impact for this team. Not that the Leafs need it, but with JT, the Leafs will continue to sell out the ACC and you will see the entire city wearing Tavares jerseys before he even hits the ice. The pressure of playing in Toronto will not faze Tavares. He has been under the spotlight since he was 14. He has had to prove himself since he was 16, when the OHL changed the rules to get him in the league. He was faced with the pressure of leading his national junior team to 2 gold medals. Pressure won’t affect JT.
John Tavares will be a great fit for wherever he plays. But Leafs fans are hoping he fits into Brian Burke’s plans to get him here.