The Sharks got their meeting.
Free-agent-to-be John Tavares and agent Pat Brisson met with San Jose general manager Doug Wilson, head coach Peter DeBoer, and owner Hasso Plattner, among others, at CAA's headquarters in Los Angeles on Tuesday. The meeting lasted over two hours, and was longer than each of Tavares’ Monday meetings, with the New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs, according to SiriusXM NHL Network Radio’s Jonathan Davis.
Tavares’ meeting with the Sharks was his third of six scheduled. He also met with the Boston Bruins on Tuesday, and will reportedly meet with the Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday.
The Islanders captain, who has scored more goals than all but five players since 2009, reportedly has an eight-year, $88 million offer on the table from his current club. Reports indicate that he will most likely stay in Brooklyn (and/or Long Island, and/or Queens, eventually), but if Tavares does leave, San Jose is in a strong position to sign the 27-year-old.
For one, the Sharks have around $19 million in salary cap space, according to CapFriendly. That's more than each of the teams involved, save for New York and Dallas, but San Jose has more players under contract than either of those clubs.
In other words, the Sharks can insert Tavares into their lineup with minimal tweaking and give him a contract in the range of Jonathan Toews ($10,500,000 cap hit) and Connor McDavid ($12,500,000). Hockey Graphs’ Matt Cane’s contract model projects a seven-year contract, the maximum Tavares could sign with a team that isn't the Islanders, would be worth about $10.6 million.
Plus San Jose, as well as Tampa Bay and Boston, are the only teams meeting with Tavares that advanced out of the first round last season. In his career, Tavares has been to the playoffs three times, and only made it out of the playoffs once.
Now, the Sharks play the waiting game. Tavares can still meet with teams from now until June 30. He cannot sign with a new team until 9 a.m. PT on July 1, but can re-sign with the Islanders in the meantime.
While the San Jose front office met with Tavares, one enterprising Sharks fan implored the Ontario native to put on a teal jersey, with the help of some famous beards.
Doug Wilson and Pat Brisson temporarily stepped out of #TavaresWatch meeting to escort #SJSharks owner Hasso Plattner to his limo. Wilson saw the fan’s recruiting sign and had a good laugh. #TSN #NHL pic.twitter.com/SpeXLh7njz— John Lu (@JohnLuTSNMtl) June 26, 2018
If Tavares returns to the Islanders, he won't be able to grow any facial hair under new general manager Lou Lamoirello’s club policy. He may not want a lifestyle beard, but it's an option in San Jose.
Correction: A previous version of this article said San Jose and Tampa Bay were the only teams meeting with Tavares that made it out of the first round of the postseason this year. Boston did, too. The article has been updated to reflect that.