Saying this season has not been anything short of a massive disappointment for the New York Islanders is a huge understatement. The 2016-17 season for Islander fans has been filled with angst and extreme frustration. This past week, however, some sunshine came out of this dark year. That’s when the captain, John Tavares stated to the New York media he is staying put with the Islanders. The franchise isn’t going anywhere.
Ever since the New York Islanders won the 2009 NHL Lottery, it feels like the hockey world has been speculating that John Tavares would not be an Islander. Despite Tavares constantly repeating his team is the Islanders the speculation never seems to end.
This past summer on the all-sports radio station, Sportsnet 590 in Toronto, Tavares once again said he wanted to be an Islander for life. Because of the Islanders poor play this season speculation of Tavares leaving has ramped up again when his contract ends after next season.
Finally, this week Tavares set the record straight once again when he spoke to Newsday’s Steven Marcus.
"I think for myself, I’ve always shown and talked about my commitment here. I think I’ve stated enough how much I enjoy being here. For myself, I know that I have not been to the level that I expect of myself and that standard that I want to be at. I need to be counted on more, to be more of a difference-maker."
Tavares took this opportunity to point out his play (14 goals & 30 points) has not been where it needs to be. That says an awful lot about the character of the captain.
Unless a miraculous second-half occurs the most exciting moment for the Islanders this Spring will be when the ping-pong balls bounce around at the NHL Lottery. But yet John Tavares still believes in this team.
While the Islanders currently have one of the lowest point totals in the league, they also have lost an incredible amount of close games.
Tavares is a very talented player he is also a smart guy on and off the ice, he understands with a couple of tweaks that many of this year’s one-goal losses could turn into victories next season. Perhaps the Islanders could be next year’s Columbus Blue Jackets?
It also shows how much the captain believes in his teammates and the organization. This is a common thread in this franchise as Travis Hamonic and Cal Clutterbuck has shown the same belief this season through their words as well.
Want your voice heard? Join the Eyes On Isles team!
Where He Wants to Be
But in addition to on the ice, the Islanders is where Tavares wants to be off the ice. Tavares has made Long Island his hockey home since 2009. Obviously, he is very comfortable being here away from the rink.
Having that complete package of being comfortable on the ice and away from it is why top players stay with their existing clubs. Everyone saw that with Steven Stamkos and his decision to stay in Tampa.
This has been a rough year for the Islanders organization and new ownership group. Strong chance major changes are coming regarding a new team President, general manager, and head coach.
But with the core of this roster and the talent in the pipeline knocking on the door, there is a chance the Islanders will take one step back this season and go three steps forward next year. John Tavares believes that is the case.