NHL Talking Points: Could John Tavares have a future in Montreal?

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 18: John Tavares
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 18: John Tavares /

The Montreal Canadiens might not be in the NHL playoffs, but the John Tavares saga shows that they’ll continue to make headlines for quite some time.

2018 has pressed some difficult times upon the Montreal Canadiens.

Although the team is set to conclude the regular season with one of the worst records in the NHL, the Habs continue to occupy the talk circuit of hockey news. Unfavorable circumstances have ushered forward uncomfortable conversations, but the redemptive possibilities of the 2018 draft promise a new window of opportunity. And that window will rapidly expand if Montreal’s administration manages to work some magic — a prospect that begins with putting everything into signing what Alex Hoegler calls “the most sought-after free agent in NHL history.”

A recent appearance on TSN 690 saw hockey analyst Gord Miller drop some interesting comments regarding the future of John Tavares — the substance of which will please Habs fans for the time being. In Miller’s eyes, should Tavares opt to test the free agency market, Montreal currently serves as “the leading contender” to land the talented forward.

Miller’s remarks echo what has become a recurring talking point in the ongoing J.T. saga. TSN’s Darren Dreger, in particular, has been gesturing to the possibility of a Habs team fronted by Tavares as early as December.

Speculation aside, it’s important to note that the aforementioned comments come amidst one of the most trying times of the 27-year-old’s career.

While the 2017-18 season initially looked like one of promise for Tavares’ New York Islanders, the end result has been one of immense disappointment. The Isles were eliminated from playoff contention on Monday night — an unsurprising outcome, as the team has won just five of their last 20 games. They’re seventh in the league in goals for, but defensive struggles and poor goaltending have rendered them first in goals against.

The idea that the Isles’ administration let Tavares down at the trade deadline has been all but confirmed. This ultimately raises the uneasy question of whether such actions have caused Tavares to reevaluate his future. While J.T. contemplates the possibility of competing in Denmark, one cannot help but wonder about the degree to which he’s pondering a departure from the team that drafted him.

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As the Habs head into the offseason, all eyes will be on GM Marc Bergevin’s next move. There’s little doubt that Montreal’s future is something of a question mark, but a Tavares-led team could be a step — a giant one, at that — toward winning ways.