John Tavares is still a pending unrestricted free agent. Every team in the NHL is keeping an eye on that situation, eager to know whether free agency will get its biggest star in quite some time (perhaps ever) when the calendar turns to July 1st. Chatter has already begun about the superstar class of 2019, headlined by Drew Doughty, Erik Karlsson, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Tyler Seguin, Logan Couture, Jeff Skinner and many, many more. Those discussions won’t stop anytime soon, as there are sure to be at least a few names that aren’t re-signed early.
Still, after some of the initial dreaming dies down teams have to start realistically figuring out if they can afford a superstar at the UFA premium. Not every team can pay Connor McDavid $12.5MM per season, even if he’s worth every penny. That question has been asked recently about Ottawa in particular, as the team has historically needed to keep player salaries relatively low. If Karlsson pushes the very limit of his value, Ottawa might not be able to afford him.
So, let’s try a hypothetical. If the trio of Tavares, Doughty and Karlsson all hit the market at the same time and were commanding around the same money/term, which one would you go after? Where would you want your money tied up? Vote for the player you’d most want to sign, but then also explain in the comments below the answer to another question. Would you rather spend big (big) money on forwards or defense in free agency?
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