John Tavares on joining Maple Leafs: ‘Time to live my childhood dream’

Hockey Central insiders John Shannon and Chris Johnston join David Amber to talk about John Tavares signing a seven-year $77 million deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

He’s the biggest unrestricted free agent to hit the market in the salary cap era and, possibly, ever.

John Tavares shook the hockey world and especially Leafs Nation when it was announced he had signed a seven-year, $77 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Tavares was the first overall pick in the 2009 draft and has had a successful career to this point, posting 621 points in 669 games.

But the playoffs were a different story. The Islanders reached the post-season just three times in nine seasons and won a single playoff series — where Tavares scored the clinching goal.

Shortly after the signing became official, Tavares shared the news on his own Twitter account. He gave his thanks to the Islanders and their fans before looking ahead to the Maple Leafs

The way he closed his statement will bring excitement to any Leafs fan — and maybe a tear to their eye.

“The island, the fans, the organization, my teammates will always be special to me and my family, but it’s time to live my childhood dream here in Toronto.”

Before he was drafted into the NHL and even before he became an OHL star, Tavares played in the Toronto Marlboros organization and, prior to that, out of his hometown Oakville minor hockey association. A fan of the team growing up, he is the first player to come back to Toronto in their prime. And he further touched on the heart strings of Leafs fans by sharing a photo of himself in his youth.

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