The New York Islanders worst nightmare of losing John Tavares is on the verge of happening as meetings with five other teams are real.
New York Islanders fans were hoping the John Tavares situation would not reach a point in time when the captain would take the initiative to sit down and meet with other teams about a potential contract.
Yet, in a report from Larry Brooks of the New York Post, Tavares is set to meet with at least five teams starting tomorrow during the NHL’s interview period leading up to unrestricted free agency which begins on July 1.
I am told (though not by agent or NYI) that Tavares will meet with five teams during interview period that opens tomorrow. Rangers are not among them.
— Larry Brooks (@NYP_Brooksie) June 23, 2018
According to The Athletic’s Arthur Staple, the Toronto Maple Leafs, San Jose Sharks and Dallas Stars are three teams that will “definitely” be in on the interview process with this summer’s top UFA.
As expected, the Vegas Golden Knights are another team more than likely going to meet with No. 91 while the wild-card club is named the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Even with Tavares taking these meetings, just about everyone around the league feels he's going back to #Isles.
— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) June 23, 2018
On a bright side for Isles fans, the New York Rangers are not in the mix, but that doesn’t exactly make any matters better moving forward in all the drama.
How concerned should Islanders fan be?
While Staple mentioned that “everyone around the league” believes that Tavares is still going to re-sign with the Islanders, there’s still much reason to be concerned if you’re the Orange and Blue.
Sure, it’s not unheard of to see a superstar caliber skater such as Tavares meet with other teams during UFA but still re-sign with his current club, but the fact that competitors have a legitimate opportunity to meet with No. 91 and persuade him otherwise is nerve-wracking for New York.
A lot can take place in a short time frame from now until the end of tomorrow when the Islanders’ former No. 1 overall selection (2009) is expected to start talking with these reported teams.
The Islander faithful will point to the fact that Tampa Bay Lightning captain, Steven Stamkos, took similar steps in the UFA process and met with other teams such as Toronto, but we can all bet that the Leafs losing out on Stamkos was a big learning curve for the Original Six franchise.
Out of the five teams mentioned above, Toronto and San Jose are more than likely the biggest threats for the Islanders. Both are set long-term to succeed and adding Tavares would only be more enticing for J.T. to join either one of those clubs that are already legitimate Stanley Cup contenders.