Will New York Islanders captain John Tavares be a lock to sign a long term contract with Doug Weight remaining head coach?
The New York Islanders announced that Doug Weight who served as interim head coach since January has been named the permanent head coach of the team. From the time Weight took over in January to the end of the season, the Islanders posted the second-best record in the National Hockey League with 24 wins and recording 52 points.
The Islanders also registered the most hits in the league during that stretch and scored the fourth-most goals (120). They fell just a point short of reaching the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season.
With an important piece of the puzzle completed as the offseason is underway, the focus now shifts to other key decisions. A new contract for team captain John Tavares. The Islanders players showed their support for Weight to remain the coach of the team when the season concluded this week including Tavares.
“I think you saw what he brought to the team and really sparked the great finish we had to the season and gave us a great opportunity to make it,” captain John Tavares told Newsday. “I think he did a great job of handling the group and there’s a lot of respect for Dougie. He was great for me as well, challenged me and tried to put me in a position to succeed individually. So yeah, I thought he did a great job.”
The Islanders captain who will be a free agent after next season can be offered a new contract after July 1st which is something the team wants to work on. He knows their is no rush to complete it with plenty of time to sort it out. “I think for me at the end of the day, I want to win a Stanley Cup, so I think everyone here is absolutely committed to doing that,” he said to Newsday. “Hopefully we can work something out and I’m here.”
If the organization is looking to do whatever it takes to satisfy Tavares then they are off to a good start by naming Weight the permanent coach. The next piece of the puzzle will be improving the roster through the draft and free agency. Expansion to Las Vegas means at least one departing player the Islanders need to prepare to lose this summer. GM Garth Snow could use the first round pick at the NHL Entry Draft to add a piece to the club via trade.
The other important hurdle that could be coming together soon is the long term arena home for the Islanders with the issues at Barclays Center. Reports surfaced that Belmont Park is going to be the destination to build a new arena in the near future.
It anticipates to be a busy offseason for the New York Islanders as they look to retool the roster and make a return to the Stanley Cup playoffs next season.