Teams re-sign stars a year ahead of free agency

When John Tavares' contract ran out with the New York Islanders, he took the opportunity to talk with other teams.

"I felt like I owed it to myself to see what else was out there," Tavares said.

Tavares' exploration led him to rediscover his childhood affinity for the Maple Leafs, and his confidence in Toronto's future led him to sign a monster $77 million, seven-year contract. The Islanders were left with nothing, a mistake other NHL franchises seem determined not to make.

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