All eyes in the National Hockey League have been on Los Angeles California over the past few days as New York Islanders superstar center John Tavares has held meetings with various National Hockey League franchises. The meetings have been held in the offices of the Creative Artists Agency, the agency that represents Tavares through high profile agent Pat Brisson and there have been almost no leaks from those meetings as a result.
On Tuesday though TSN insider Darren Dreger was a guest on TSN 1050 in Toronto and for the first time that I am aware of an insider has claimed to have information regarding how Tavares viewed one of the pitches. If Dreger is correct things sound more and more promising for the Toronto Maples Leafs.
"Tavares isn't talking. Pat Brisson isn't going to give you that sort of intel because they're being respectful of the process," said Dreger as per Fanrag's Chris Nichols before adding, "but the word that I received from a secondary source, I will call it, was that John Tavares was very impressed with the Toronto Maple Leafs."
There has been rampant speculation already that Toronto would be Tavares' preferred destination due to it's proximity to his hometown of Mississauga, Ontario, When the Leafs were announced as the first team that would meet with the Islanders captain in Los Angeles even more bought it to the fact that the Leafs may have been at the top of his list. Add those factors to Dreger's most recent report and you couldn't blame fans in Toronto if they are starting to feel a little excitement.
It's quite surprising given that many believed the Leafs would be out of the running due to the long term contracts that they are expected to give forwards William Nylander, Mitch Marner and of course forward Auston Matthews big money deals that will already give them some cap constraints. On top of all that it's no secret that the Leafs have also wanted to make additions to their blue line, especially head coach Mike Babcock, but it seems that the Leafs believe they can make everything work. I suppose when a player like John Tavares comes along you just simply can not pass up the opportunity to take your chance at acquiring him, especially on a long term contract.
Now that is not to say that the Maple Leafs are a lock to acquire the star forward, not by a long shot. Tavares has continued to meet with every single team on his list and while Dreger's report is undoubtedly accurate some other NHL organization could have feasibly blown him away with their presentation, one that may be more likely to stick in his mind as it comes after the Maple Leafs own presentation.
Although it's worth noting that despite having spoken to at least two other teams over the phone, they are believed to have been the Las Vegas Golden Knights and the Nashville Predators, all reports at this time suggest that Tavares has not added any additional teams to his list. On Tuesday Tavares met with a delegation from the San Jose Sharks as well as one from the Boston Bruins bu thus far no information has come out of those meetings.