Today in Hockey History: Toronto Maple Leafs Sign John Tavares

John Tavares
TORONTO, ON - JULY 1 - Tavares posing with his jersey in the Leafs locker room. The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed John Tavares for seven years, $77 million. July 1, 2018. (Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

During the NHL’s hiatus, we at Last Word on Hockey are going to look back at each date’s historical significance to the game. We’ll remember the moments that shaped the sport of hockey that happened on this day. Here’s our look at this date in hockey history for July 1st, featuring John Tavares.

Happy Canada Day.

Today in Hockey History

John Tavares Signs With Leafs

2018: The Toronto Maple Leafs land the coveted centre from the New York Islanders. Tavares comes home after the team’s numerous overtures to hometown stars like Steven Stamkos and others are rebuffed. He signs a seven-year, $77 million contract with the club after being targeted by so many teams.

Tavares was the top pick of the 2009 NHL Draft and left the Islanders with 621 points (272 goals, 349 assists) in 669 NHL games during nine seasons. He was fifth all-time on the team, but first for players that weren’t part of the 1980s dynasty. Tavares has NHL career highs in goals (47) and points (88) in his first season with the Maple Leafs, but the Boston Bruins oust the Leafs again.

Other Notable Events

1967: Construction starts on The Forum, which will be the future home of the Los Angeles Kings. The club plays its home game Long Beach Arena and the Los Angeles Sports Arena until their new home is ready six months ready.

1989: Vancouver Canucks President Pat Quinn flies to the Soviet Union to sign Igor Larionov. Quinn scores a major coup by inking the Russian star to a multi-year contract.

1995: The Quebec Nordiques get approval from the league to become the Colorado Avalanche. Hockey returns to Denver after the Colorado Rockies became the New Jersey Devils 13 years ago.

1996: The Phoenix Coyotes sign longtime Canucks forward Cliff Ronning.

1998: The San Jose Sharks sign unrestricted free agent defenceman Gary Suter, who was with the Chicago Blackhawks previously.

2002: The New York Rangers sign former rival Bobby Holik from the Devils. Holik struggles like most free-agent signings for the club.

The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim sign centre Adam Oates. He played with the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers in the previous season.

2015: The Pittsburgh Penguins make a load of moves to make a run at the Stanley Cup. Pittsburgh acquires Phil Kessel from Toronto and becomes a key cog in the back-to-back champions. Kessel forms the “HBK Line: with Carl Hagelin and Nick Bonino. That combination helps the team win the 2016 Stanley Cup.

Happy Birthday to You

1941: Rod Gilbert

1952: Steve Shutt

1966: Shawn Burr

1967: Mike Eastwood

1971: Jarome Iginla

1972: Dan McGillis

1994: Chris Tierney

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