Lamoriello issues statement after losing Tavares in free agency

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.

Lou Lamoriello suffered his first loss as a member of the New York Islanders when captain John Tavares signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs in free agency on Sunday.

After several weeks of #TavaresWatch, the Oakville, Ont., native agreed to terms on a seven-year, $77-million deal with his childhood team — not to mention, the club Lamoriello ushered back into contention before leaving for Long Island.

After the announcement, Lamoriello issued the following statement on behalf of the Islanders:

The New York Islanders would like to thank John Tavares for everything he has done for the franchise throughout the past nine seasons. John has achieved great individual success on the ice, as well as devoting a tremendous amount of his time and energy to the community. We wish him and his family all the best. – Lou Lamoriello, via Islanders’ Twitter

Attempting to re-sign Tavares was atop Lamoriello’s long list of priorities upon joining the Islanders as president of hockey operations — and, not long after, as general manager in New York. The Islanders’ biggest bargaining chip in negotiations with No. 91 was the ability to offer Tavares an eighth year, though hope on Long Island quickly dwindled as the clock struck midnight on Saturday night. New York was ruled out of contention prior to the official opening of the free agency period on Sunday.

Tavares’ decision came down to six teams as he took meetings over the course of the past week, with the San Jose Sharks emerging as a finalist for his services. Sharks GM Doug Wilson also issued a statement in the aftermath of Tavares’ decision, thanking Tavares’ camp for its professionalism over the course of negotiations:

The Boston Bruins were also in the mix, in addition to the Tampa Bay Lightning and Dallas Stars.

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