While the club's contract-extension pitch to the superstar defenseman was closer to $11 million than $10 million per season, it came up short in the area of signing bonuses, a source with knowledge of the offer told The Athletic's Chris Stevenson for a story published Friday.
Tavares will receive more than half of his new $77-million contract ($44 million) in the first three years of the seven-year pact, and he'll earn less than $1 million per campaign in terms of actual salary in all seven of those years, with the vast majority of his earnings coming by way of bonuses.
The Leafs' newest star forward isn't the only player to sign a bonus-heavy deal in anticipation of a potential work stoppage in 2019, as most of Connor McDavid's $100-million contract with the Edmonton Oilers will be paid by way of upfront money over an eight-year term when it kicks in during the upcoming season.
Talk of a possible lockout or strike in 2019-20 has persisted because both the NHL and the NHLPA can opt out of the current collective bargaining agreement on separate dates in September 2019, even though the CBA runs through the 2021-22 season.
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