As the offseason rolls on, New York Islanders star John Tavares still hasn’t signed an extension. Is it time for fans to begin to panic?
After an eventful start to the offseason, the past couple weeks have been quiet around the New York Islanders. With the big acquisition of Jordan Eberle and with much of the big-name free agents off the board by now, it seems that general manager Garth Snow isn’t going to make any more major moves unless he can work some magic and pull off a trade for Matt Duchene.
But that’s old news. The biggest concern for the team and their fans now is to extend the contract of the face of the franchise, John Tavares.
As we all know by now, John Tavares is heading into the final year of his six-year $33 million contract that he signed back in 2011. After signing a team friendly contract, the 26-year old Tavares will be looking to get paid and rightfully so. The guy is worth every penny. He helped turn this team around and bring hope back to Long Island. He’s one of the best centers in the NHL and still has the best years of his career ahead of him.
According to Arthur Staple of Newsday, the Islanders want Tavares on an 8-year deal worth $10-$11 million per year. That might have to change now that Connor McDavid just signed an 8-year contract for $13.25 million a year.
Tavares was eligible to sign an extension back on Jul. 1 and as of now, there hasn’t been much news on the situation. So is it time to panic yet? No. It’s still very very early. There’s still three months till the season begins. That’s a lot of time for Tavares and the Islanders to work something out before the regular season starts. The last time the Islanders extended Tavares it wasn’t until the middle of September.
It’s hard not to panic. No one wants to lose the face of the franchise to free agency. But if you step back and look at all the factors into Tavares decision, you have to think that he would re-sign long-term.
The Islanders have a bright future ahead. With young emerging stars like Anders Lee and Josh Ho-Sang, along with up and coming forwards Anthony Beauvillier, Matt Barzal, and Kieffer Bellows, the Islanders are built for the future. Add those young stars with veterans like Andrew Ladd, Nick Leddy, Josh Bailey, and Johnny Boychuk and that makes a team ready to contend for a Stanley Cup.
Garth Snow has shown that he is willing to invest into helping out John Tavares. He went out there and traded for Jordan Eberle who Tavares has had great history with when they played together for team Canada during the 2009 Junior Championship where they won gold together.
So why would Tavares want to leave a team with a good mix of young talent and veterans? Well, one major factor has to be the arena. It is clear that the Islanders want their future home to be built at Belmont Park in Elmont. Who knows how long this process will take and even if it’s approved, it’s not like an arena can be built right away. Knowing how long he has to play on the slushy ice of the Barclays Center will definitely have a factor in his decision.
But for now Islander fans, just stay calm.
I know its hard to do that, but this is the NHL, not the NBA. You don’t see the big stars jump ship like LeBron James and Kevin Durant. You see more loyalty from hockey players over the years such as Steve Stamkos signing an extension last season and Connor McDavid this offseason.
After watching Tavares play, listening to him speak in postgame conferences and reading about him the past eight years, I am confident he will re-sign long term with the Islanders in attempt to bring back the Stanley Cup to Long Island. (Yes, still Long Island.)