Maple Leafs sign Tavares to 7-year, $77M contract
Carlos Osorio / Toronto Star / Getty

John Tavares is coming home.

The superstar forward is signing a seven-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs at an average annual value of $11 million, the club confirmed Sunday.

"The island, the fans, the organization, (and) my teammates will always be special to me and my family but it's time to live my childhood dream here in Toronto," Tavares wrote in a statement on Twitter.

Here are his thoughts in full, in which the 27-year-old thanked the New York Islanders and their fans after spending the first nine years of his career with that organization.

Tavares' new deal will reportedly be paid largely in signing bonuses rather than actual salary, according to TSN's Pierre LeBrun.

The Mississauga-born center was by far the biggest fish on the free-agent market, and he gives the Maple Leafs impressive depth at the position, joining Auston Matthews and Nazem Kadri down the middle in Toronto's top nine.

Tavares leaves the Islanders as the fifth-ranked point producer in franchise history, and the seventh-ranked goal-scorer. He poured in 272 goals and 621 points in 669 games for New York after being selected first overall in 2009.

Maple Leafs sign Tavares to 7-year, $77M contract
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