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New York Islanders Market Set For Tavares

By Matt O'Leary
Apr 14, 2016; Sunrise, FL, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) skates before game one of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 14, 2016; Sunrise, FL, USA; New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) skates before game one of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports /
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The New York Islanders captain John Tavares is set to hit free agency in two summers. Garth Snow should look at a recently signed contract as a benchmark for Tavares.

The Dallas Stars locked up prolific scorer Jamie Benn to an eight year contract extension. The contract is worth $76 million with an AAV of $9.5 million. These are figures that we could see the New York Islanders use next summer with John Tavares before he hits free agency the following year.

The comparison is a good one between the two. The two are similar in age, Tavares is younger by a year and they both put up pretty impressive numbers offensively. Benn is coming off of his best year to date, just missing a 90 point season by one point.

He’s a superstar just like Tavares is. Tavares is coming off a “down year” where he still had 70 points which was good enough for 16th best in the league.

Similar Contracts

Jamie Benn’s new deal is certainly a starting point in negotiations for John Tavares. Summer 2016 was supposed to be the summer of Steven Stamkos, but he re-signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning before hitting the open market.

The Stamkos deal was an eight year $68 million deal with an AAV of $8.5 million. Which would be a steal for Tampa Bay if he could recapture his 90 point seasons from earlier in his career. At only age 25 that is certainly not asking too much of Stamkos, but even if he stays in the 60-70 point range it works out too.

Eight years seems to be the go to number in years where the salary differs. Tavares, who is just 25 years old himself like Stamkos should expect to see the number eight next to years and a lot of zero’s on the left side of the decimal point when Garth Snow comes at him with an offer.

The Lack of a Sidekick

The difference though between the Stars, Islanders and Lightning is the scoring. The Stars had three guys with 30+ goals last year, Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza. The Lightning had two players with 30+ goals with Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos. John Tavares was the lone Islander with 30+ goals.

Now the Islanders replaced Kyle Okposo‘s 22 goals with Andrew Ladd who has the potential to be around a 25 goal scorer on a line with Tavares. There’s two questions; is that enough for the Islanders and does that make Tavares worth more?

Time will tell if that is enough for the Islanders, and Garth Snow may still have a trade up his sleeve so we can’t call the Islanders roster done just yet.

As for the is Tavares worth more argument, he can certainly use those stats as a bargaining chip. Tavares may try to get $10 million AAV but realistically I think he will be somewhere in between the Stamkos and Benn contracts.

Next: Triangulating Ledecky

Ultimately I think Tavares will be in the $9 million AAV range, which wouldn’t be detrimental to the cap and would be a significant raise for JT as well. John Ledecky wants to keep Tavares here long term and I expect a similar contract to the one that we estimated to be signed next summer.

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