Islanders captain John Tavares has signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs on a seven-year deal with an average annual value of $11 million.
The Islanders had extended an eight-year offer to Tavares on Saturday afternoon, reports Arthur Staple of The Athletic. But on Sunday morning, he informed the team of his decision not to return.
The Islanders were expected frontrunners to re-sign the veteran center.
The Islanders did all they could to lure Tavares back to the shores of Long Island, but it didn't work. After reaching a deal to build a new arena on Belmont Park's ground, co-owners Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin owned up to their word of evaluating hockey operations and made necessary changes by bringing in new GM and president of hockey operations, Hall of Famer Lou Lamoriello. It was said that Tavares was impressed Lamoriello was brought in to run the show.
If that wasn't enough to entice Tavares to come back, the Isles scooped head coach Barry Trotz, who is free off a Stanley Cup victory with the Captails last season.
But even Lamoriello, Trotz, and the budding young talent on the Islanders didn't seem to do the trick for Tavares. Tavares wanted to be on a win-now team that has the ability to make a deep Stanley Cup-run each year.
Across nine NHL seasons, Tavares collected 272 goals and 349 assits for 621 points. Last season, he tallied 84 points (27 goals, 47 assists) over a full 82-game season.