Toronto had a momentous week with the signing of big ticket NHL free-agent John Tavares.
Tavares made headlines in the Luso-Canadian and Luso-American communities as the first NHL player with Portuguese roots to be drafted first overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, the same draft that saw the Leafs draft Nazem Kadri at seventh overall. This dubious honor of choosing first overall is given to the last place team which selects the number one prospect with hopes and dreams of turning their fortunes around and eventually winning the Stanley Cup.
It was a move that had a few expecting it may be a possibility, but most Leaf fans have gotten used to seeing the long list of prolific players spurn Toronto for more money or warm weather or cities in more tax-favorable states/provinces. What made this such a rarity is the fact that Tavares was a first overall pick in the NHL – something that hardly ever happens. Why? Because that player would almost always be signed with the team for a the minimum of 9 years, which is plenty of time to build around him and become competitive. During that time the player will sow roots in the community – get married, have children attending local schools, purchase a home in the area and so on. There is also the fact that the team that drafted him has the right to negotiate an extension with that player a full year before any other team can offer him a contract. Almost always the player is comfortable where he is, as he is paid as much money as any other team was going to offer and would likely want to continue the pursuit of the Stanley Cup with his teammates.
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