New York Islanders John Tavares Stays Committed Again

NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 18: John Tavares
NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 18: John Tavares /

Wherever he goes New York Islanders John Tavares is asked about his contract situation with the only team he’s ever played for, and time and time again he recommits to the Islanders.

Appearing at an offseason training camp, New York Islanders John Tavares was asked about discussions with the Islanders vis-a-vis his expiring contract in 2018.

And for the thousandth time, this time speaking to TSN, he answered that he wants to stay. He wants to continue as an Islander:

"“We’ve had great open communication, it’s obviously a great place to play, I’ve enjoyed my time being an Islander and I want that experience to continue.”"

It’s the exact sound byte that we’ve all come to expect from Tavares. I don’t blame the journalist for asking. It’s a relevant question that we all want an answer too. Not just the New York market, every single NHL market wants to know. Will he stay, or will he go?

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Whats The Hold Up

If the New York Islanders want him to stay, and he wants to stay, then why is this taking so long you might ask?

There’s a number of theories out there. But the one I’m sticking with is the arena. Not the Belmont arena situation, but the one unfolding between the Islanders and the Barclays center.

The New York Islanders and the Barclays Center have until January 2018 to bargain “in good faith” on a new deal. That 25-year “iron clad” deal they signed in 2012 wasn’t so iron clad and both sides are looking to get out from under it.

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Tavares is holding all the cards in this negotiation and he wants to know, not only where the Islanders are going to be playing in the next few seasons, but how said arena is going to help the team fuel a competitive roster.

At the moment the Barclays Center is paying the New York Islanders somewhere around $50 million a year to play at the Barclays. A cash dump that is undoubtedly responsible for the Islanders spending close to the salary cap over the last few years.

It’s allowed them to sign players like Andrew Ladd to big money deals, and bring in Jordan Eberle on an equally sizable contract to round out the roster.

That’s why he hasn’t signed yet. That’s why he’s waiting. I know that Tavares has said and Doug Weight has reiterated that both sides are in open communication. But until the Islanders short term future is remedied I don’t see a deal coming through.

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Tavares wants to win. And he wants to do it wearing a New York Islanders jersey. He’s not going to stay if the franchise’s finances look to be on rocky grounds again. He’s too good to be toiling on a team where spending is a problem.