BOSTON (CBS) — Forward John Tavares announced on Twitter that he would be signing with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Maple Leafs Media Relations said the free agent had agreed to a 7-year contract. “The annual average value of the contract is $11 million,” they tweeted.
Tavares also sent a message to his Islander fans. He said, in part, “These past 6 days have been nothing I could have ever expected. Making the toughest decision of my life: to stay where I have been my entire career or take a calculated leap of faith into an opportunity that I believe will be special to me and my family. The island has been home, it’s what I know, it’s part of me — it always will be. I can’t thank you all enough for the dedication you have all showed.”
Tavares, 27, became one of the biggest free agents in NHL history this summer. He’s scored 272 goals and registered 349 assists for 621 points in his 669 career regular-season games. Since the 2011-12 season, he’s averaged just a tick under one point per game, tallying 500 points in 508 games. He also has 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) in 24 career postseason games.
Originally drafted with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft by the New York Islanders, Tavares has spent his entire career for that team. He was named team captain prior to the 2013-14 season, his fifth season in the league.
Tavares and his representatives hosted meetings this past week in Los Angeles at Creative Artists Agency headquarters. The teams invited included the New York Islanders, San Jose Sharks, Dallas Stars, Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins, and Toronto Maple Leafs.
Tavares has been named to five All-Star teams in his career, first in 2012 and then in four straight seasons from 2015-18. He also won an Olympic gold medal for Canada at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, though he suffered a knee injury in the quarterfinals that ended his 2013-14 season.