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Which team would John Tavares help the most?

Competitors until now, Auston Matthews and John Tavares could form one of the NHL's most dominant 1-2 punches at center, should the latter decide to sign with the Maple Leafs. Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire

Every team in the National Hockey League could use John Tavares. But as the biggest free agent on the market listens to pitches from potential suitors, the clubs in the mix for his services need him for different reasons.

Whether it's a slim window to win or simply being a No. 1 center away from being a Stanley Cup contender, each team will be dreaming of solving their problems by adding one of the league's truly elite players.

What can Tavares add to the teams vying for his services? Will his presence make them instant favorites? Let's have a look at how he would boost the five teams named as favorites (and a few long shots).


The favorites

New York Islanders

Why they need Tavares: Although the Islanders finished second-to-last in the Metropolitan Division last season, they aren't that far off from being a contender. Led by Tavares, the Isles scored the third-most even-strength goals in the NHL. If they roll out even an average goaltending and defense, Lou Lamoriello's new club could be a scary team, with JT and rising star Mathew Barzal in tow for the foreseeable future.

Where he will impact them the most: Maximizing teammates' skills

Tavares is such an excellent all-around offensive talent that he brings the best out of goal scorers and playmakers alike. When sharing the ice with Tavares, Anders Lee scored 1.40 goals per 60 minutes at even strength (they skated around 700 minutes together, per Corsica Hockey). For context, the league leader among forwards with at least 1,000 minutes (Vegas' William Karlsson) produced 1.38 goals per 60. Josh Bailey had his best career season with 53 assists (all situations), 44 of which came when he shared the ice with Tavares.

Most likely linemates: Anders Lee, Josh Bailey

According to Corsica Hockey, the Tavares-Lee-Bailey line produced 2.75 goals per 60 minutes together, which ranked as the 18th-best line in hockey, just ahead of the Nicklas Backstrom-Alex Ovechkin-Tom Wilson line in Washington.