Hahahahahahaha just kidding. He wasn’t. He actually may be the biggest idiot in the world to do what he did.
For starters from a financial sense he took one less year on his contract by not signing with the Islanders since free agents can only sign for seven years with a team whereas a team can sign its own players for eight years. It goes beyond that, though.
From the Toronto standpoint, it was absolutely ridiculous to sign Tavares to an $11 million AAV contract when the team is stacked at forward and legitimately has one of the worst defense corps in the league. One can argue that they would have been better off going after a player like Erik Karlsson for that kind of money.
He left an Islanders team that was trending upwards after they hired Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz to lead the way to play for a head coach in Mike Babcock who is universally despised from a player’s standpoint. Babcock, by the way, has gotten bounced in five straight first rounds of playoffs that he’s coached in.
He left a franchise that loved him like he was their own son even after he begged them not to trade him at the previous deadline for a franchise that will be calling for his head each year he doesn’t bring them the Stanley Cup.
You thought that the New York media was bad? Well in hockey the Toronto media destroys players from the inside out.
Being the most popular player on the Leafs is equivalent to being the captain of the Yankees. When the blessings fall they hit the head first but in that kind of market the blessings don’t fall often and it’s mostly reporters throwing punches at the head of the leader.
Quite frankly, it’s why Steven Stamkos and many other native sons of Toronto have decided to stay put in their situations. In Tampa, Stamkos will be universally loved forever and may go down as the greatest player in franchise history when it’s all said and done.
Tavares’ career will have a giant stain on it if he doesn’t win a cup in Toronto. Since the Leafs haven’t won anything since 1967, the fanbase is especially hungry. Each year they don’t win the cup they grow angrier and quite frankly, dumber.
It’s a tough road to get out of the Atlantic. You have to go through perennial contenders like Tampa and Boston every year. Buffalo, Florida, and Montreal on the rise. Detroit’s prodigal son Steve Yzerman just returned home to build them into a contender.
Meanwhile in the Metropolitan the only teams to really worry about on an annual basis are Pittsburgh, who Tavares’ old team just swept, and Washington.
Tavares could have become a legend in New York and built something extremely special on the Island but he was a coward. He will regret his decision for the rest of his career after the Leafs get bounced in the first round year after year and the media in Toronto crushes his legacy.