Don't count on Tavares in Toronto
Friday, October 26, 2007 | 11:33 AM ET
Let’s not get too excited about yesterday’s story about the Toronto Maple Leafs reportedly trying to pull a fast one and get OHL phenom John Tavares into the system.
The plan is simple - sign Tavares to a one-year AHL deal and have him suit up for the Toronto Marlies for the year. The Leafs would then work on getting Tavares signed to a two-year deal based on the assumption that he would not sign with the NHL team that drafts him, thereby foregoing his first two years in the NHL in exchange for an elevated rate of pay in the AHL. In the meantime, the team who drafted the Oshawa General could trade his rights to the Leafs or allow him to become an unrestricted free agent, at which point he could sign a deal with the Maple Leafs.
Creative thinking on the part of Leafs GM John Ferguson, but don’t count on this one ever happening. The AHL has a rule similar to the NHL one that prohibits underage players from entering the league, which would disqualify Tavares from playing in the 2008-09 season. And further, I can’t see John Tavares foregoing two years of hockey in the NHL in exchange for a bigger paycheque in the minors.
Now, could the AHL create an “exceptional player” rule to allow Tavares into their league and presumably sell a few more tickets? Absolutely. But this scheme is a long shot at best. And, contrary to what many have reported, the NHL has not closed the door on Tavares entering the NHL draft, even though he doesn’t meet the cut-off age criteria.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, speaking to us yesterday on Hockey Night in Canada Radio, said the league would take a look at altering the draft rules if an application were officially filed by the Tavares's representatives. One has not been submitted as of yet, but the Tavares camp and the NHL did discuss the possibility at the 2007 entry draft in Columbus this past June.
Elsewhere around the league:
- The Bruins beat the Blackhawks 3-1 last night at the TD Banknorth Garden and Zdeno Chara gave tough guy David Koci a sound beating, busting up a nose already broken by the Leafs' Wade Belak last Saturday night in this fight.
- Chara was not allowed to fight under former Bruins bench boss Dave Lewis, and after last night’s tilt Chara’s teammates said he’s been waiting to scrap for a full year. Here’s the Chara/Koci fight that has everyone talking. And that’s not a spilled bottle of merlot on the ice, either.
- A big win for both the Bruins and Chara, although more people will watch the video than saw it live. The announced attendance in Boston last night was a scant 10,290. Yes, I know the Red Sox were playing Game 2 of the World Series, but still.
- Nashville was also attendance-challenged, drawing 13,383 people (announced) to see Dan Ellis pick up his first career shutout as the Preds blanked the Thrashers 3-0.
Join us for CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada Radio this afternoon (Sirius channel 122, 4 p.m. ET). Scott Morrison of HNIC will be my co-host and we’ll speak to Jim Hughson about tonight’s Vancouver vs. Washington game and tomorrow’s HNIC matchup between the Montreal Canadiens and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Also, HNIC analyst Kelly Hrudey and hockey writer/filmmaker/musician Dave Bidini join our Friday Hockey Night in Canada Roundtable.
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About the Author
Jeff Marek, one of sports talk radio's brightest stars, is the host of the all-new HNIC Radio on SIRIUS Satellite Radio. A twelve-year sports-talk radio veteran, the Toronto native provides intelligent hockey talk, insight and debate during the two-hour national daily drive-time hockey program.
Well known for his previous work on Leafs Lunch on AM 640 Toronto Radio, Marek is one of sports talk radio's most respected personalities. He joined AM 640 in 2000, hosting The Jeff Marek Show, a nightly open-line talk show, while working as the stations' morning news anchor. He quickly became the director of sports news and joined host Bill Watters on Leafs Lunch.
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- Tuesday, October 30, 2007
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- Monday, October 29, 2007
- Don't count on Tavares in Toronto
- Friday, October 26, 2007
- Meet the new boss - not the same as the old boss
- Thursday, October 25, 2007
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