There is only one option for John Tavares now that the NHL and AHL have effectively slammed the door in his face.
He has to go to Europe to play.
That appears to be the only place where Tavares will get anywhere near the money he deserves and the development that he needs.
Heaven knows, he certainly won’t find it at home.
Everyone agrees that Tavares will be too good for the OHL next season, but the NHL’s and AHL’s rules forbid him from playing in either league next season because he won’t turn 18 until five days after the Sept. 15 deadline.
It would make the most sense for Tavares to play in the AHL next season and the Maple Leafs tried to make it happen by offering Tavares a contract to play for their minor league team, the Toronto Marlies, next season.
Instead of owners making money off his back and paying him next to nothing – the way it is now in junior hockey – Tavares would have been pulling down some serious cash.
That can happen in Europe and he’ll be challenged by older, better players and Tavares will be forced to keep up with them on a larger ice surface.
He has done everything he can at the OHL level, but that won’t keep the territorial junior league from fighting for the right to continue exploiting him.
So, Tavares will have to bolt to Europe.
It’s the only solution.