John Tavares, Media Day, 2018 NHL All-Star
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

New York Islanders center John Tavares is excited to get all of the distractions out of the way for the rest of the 2017-18 season.

New York Islanders star John Tavares was pleased—but not surprised—to hear about the report from TSN’s Pierre LeBrun in which it was reported that the team had no plans to trade him.

“It’s nice to hear that,” Tavares told Newsday‘s Mark Herrmann, “but I had a good sense of that already. For me, I’m just trying to do my best to help this team. Everything else is out of my control. The goal is to get to the playoffs and compete for the Stanley Cup.”

For someone who was supposedly exploring every avenue out of Brooklyn — according to almost every other non-New-York-based Journalist — Tavares sure doesn’t sound like someone who is thinking of bolting.

Rather, the captain is ready to help carry the Islanders into the postseason, as he has already done three times over the course of his career. Tavares has been more than carrying his weight this season, as he’s on pace for career-highs in both goals (41) and points (90).

Earlier in the season, the Islanders cleared the air on two major questions facing them this offseason: Where they will play in the future, and where they will play in the interim.

Despite having yet to allude to any sort of contract extension for Tavares, there haven’t been any negative indications from either side. For the Islanders, the priority is now a strong finish to end the season, much like they did last season in Doug Weight’s first taste of life as a head coach.

How the team responds to knowing their captain will be with them for the rest of the season—and that they can’t use looming trade rumors surrounding him as an excuse—is what will determine their fate.