The New York Islanders want to re-sign John Tavares, but with no input from the superstar, hope is fading by the day to keep JT an Islander for life.The New York Islanders are in a state of transition. Highlighted by intensifying talks with Lou Lamoriello to serve as some kind of hockey executive, the Isles are in a state of chaos, and one that John Tavares seemingly wants to avoid.
About a month ago, Jon Ledecky issued a statement on media day promising a ‘total evaluation’ of the hockey operations. Hiring Lamoriello may be their solution to that, but they have bigger issues on the horizon starting with their proposed Belmont Arena.
Despite Jon Ledecky’s word that everything is according to plan, struggles to develop transportation would insinuate otherwise. On top of this, the Islanders finished several points outside of a playoff spot in a season where a strong showing in the post-season could have won the captain’s favor.
Rather, as every day ticks by, Tavares is closer and closer to the listening period and the Islanders have done nothing so far with the coaching staff and general manager overseas at the IIHF tournament.
Both Mat Barzal and Anders Lee reiterated the team’s desire to retain their captain, per Aaron Vickers of NHL.com:
“It’s clear and obvious where all his teammates stand. We want him back. He’s our captain and our leader. We all look up to him. It’s a big decision for him and I think it’s best he does it internally with him and his family and go forward from there.”
The Isles may feel fortunate about their luck drawing Barzal, but although he had 85 points this season Tavares did finish with 84, and potted 37 goals as well, one short of his career-high.
Both Tavares and Barzal anchored the NHL’s sixth-best power play, and Barzal is looking forward to growing with Tavares long-term.
“If he came back, we’d have a pretty good foundation,” Barzal said. “We know what we need to get better at next year and we can take that next step. I really hope he stays, but if not, no hard feelings from me. It’s a business at the end of the day and he has to do what’s best for him.”
There’s plenty for the Islanders to work on in the defensive end, but their best aspects came offensively. Lee potted his first 40-goal season, Barzal is the likely Calder-winner, Jordan Eberle straight up for Ryan Strome, the list goes on.
Perhaps the inclusion of Lamoriello and his plan is enough to keep JT on the Island, but in this case, no news is very bad news. The Isles should have had this issue locked down and settled based off their expectations heading into the season, and obviously, there was no plan B given the way things played out.
McKenzie’s input offers even less optimism for the Isles captain immediate future:
“And although Garth Snow has been active, and he’s been productive I think in the pieces that he’s brought to the Islanders, it hasn’t made a difference in the outcome of this organization. So I think that more or less the ship has sailed. Wouldn’t be jaw-dropped shocked if Tavares, by default, decided to stay, but I’m thinking that some of the teams I’ve already mentioned – and I’m sure there are others on his list as well – at this stage seem a little bit more intriguing to him.”
Buckle up Islanders fans, this offseason is just going to get longer.