It may seem appropriate to panic over the lack of talk surrounding John Tavares’ next contract. However, New York Islanders fans should look back at Steven Stamkos’ contract negotiations and realize that what Tavares is doing is not uncommon.
John Tavares’ six-year, $33M contract with the New York Islanders expires after the 2017-18 season. This news is nothing new, yet it is becoming a scarier thought as each day passes.
Tavares had the opportunity to re-sign with the Islanders on July 1st, yet to the surprise of many New York Islanders fans, Tavares and the Isles have yet to begin contract talks, according to Arthur Staple.
While this may seem like devastating news, let’s take a moment to analyze what is going on and look at everything from Tavares’ point of view.
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Tavares Has Reasons To Be Hesitant
First of all, the Islanders do not have an arena. Last we heard, the Islanders were getting booted from Brooklyn after the 2018-2019 season, and as of now, it seems as if there are no definite plans to move into a new home after the Isles leave Brooklyn.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the Islanders are a long shot to win a Stanley Cup in the near future. The Islanders may have acquired one of Tavares’ good friends in Jordan Eberle, but they traded away Travis Hamonic for draft picks and have yet to address their lack of depth down the middle behind Tavares.
Tavares will want to see more talent on the roster before signing an extension that will keep him on the Islanders for eight more years.
Think Back to Steven Stamkos
It’s not uncommon for a player to do what Tavares is doing. Think back to Steven Stamkos and the rumors that circulated around his future.
He waited until days before becoming an unrestricted free agent and turned down more money to stay with Tampa Bay. Even though analysts reported Buffalo Sabre and Toronto Maple Leaf to be amongst the top teams to land the coveted almost free agent.
On July 9th, 2015, nine days after Stamkos was eligible to sign a contract extension, Adam Gretz reported that there were no talks of an extension between Stamkos and Lightning management.
"At this point the two sides have yet to begin talks, something that will do nothing to silence the vultures (aka: the Toronto media) that are expecting Stamkos to leave after the upcoming season and return to his hometown (Toronto)."
Even though Stamkos had repeatedly pledged his allegiance to the city of Tampa Bay, Lightning fans panicked and started predicting trades and preparing for a departure to his hometown: Toronto. Just like it has been predicted that Tavares wants to return to Toronto, Tampa fans were scared that Stamkos would bolt home.
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New York Islanders Fans Shouldn’t Worry
The similarities between the Steven Stamkos situation and John Tavares situation are eye-popping. Cal Clutterbuck, a close friend of Tavares, even said some interesting words in a Newsday article comparing Tavares to, you guessed it, Steven Stamkos:
"He’s basically the Steven Stamkos of this year, or next year if it comes to that. No one knows what his intentions are, only he really knows what’s going on. I just know he loves being here, he’s made a home here. I’ve got confidence there’s going to be an effort to keep him here and you just hope that he gets what he needs to get."
Steven Stamkos wound up signing an eight-year, $68M ($8.5M AAV) contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning on June 29, 2016, just two days before he would have become an unrestricted free agent.
Hopefully, just like Steven Stamkos, Tavares signs an eight-year contract and commits himself to the franchise that drafted him. Talk may be quiet as of now, but Tavares has made it known that he wants to be the blue and orange for the rest of his career and is just waiting until the time is right to sign an extension.
Islanders fans should trust John Tavares and not panic. Because in the end, things will most likely work out.