In the ongoing league wide saga of New York Islanders captain John Tavares’ potential free agent status in July, Montréal Canadiens Owner got caught saying something he shouldn’t have.
New York Islanders captain John Tavares could be a free agent as of July 1st, 2018. Assuming he doesn’t sign an extension with the Islanders before then (he will). Until he does (he will) every team in the league is getting pitches ready for him.
I don’t blame them. Tavares is arguably one of the ten best players int he league. At worst he’s in the top 15 in the NHL. He’s a number one center with a point per game pedigree. What team wouldn’t want that?
But until July 1st, 2018 any team not named the New York Islanders can’t make any sort of approach to John Tavares. Directly, through secret channels or through the media. That’s tampering.
Tampering rules exist to protect teams from lesser markets from losing their pending free agents to bigger markets before they even have a chance to negotiate with them.
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Uh Oh Jeff Molson
It seems that Montréal is already making plans to woo Tavares. Which again, is a-ok that they scheme in their offices in La Belle Province behind closed doors. Letting it be known, officially to the media is a big “no-no”.
Remember that Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning was in the same boat just over a year ago. The Canucks GM was “caught” saying that his team was interested in acquiring the services of PK Subban and/or Steven Stamkos.
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Marc Bergevin was quick to denounce his counterpart saying his comments “crossed the line”. Well, Marc when the shoe fits, eh? Looks like Montréal is going to get a $50,000 bill just like Benning did in 2016.
It Doesn’t Matter For Isles
That $50,000 bill means nothing for one of the richest clubs in the league. They still got their point across to Tavares and his camp. They’re interested. Tavares and his agent must have already figured they would.
In terms of the Islanders, I don’t worry. This won’t sway Tavares in the slightest. He wants to stay. He doesn’t want to go anywhere else.
Tavares wants that arena deal locked up before he signs over the best years of his NHL career to the Islanders. If he’s going to give the Islanders stability they have to return the favor and give Tavares stability too. It’s only fair.
Montréal will pay their tampering fee and the league will move on. No harm done. Tavares will be unfazed by the interest. Again, he had to know they were interested anyways. He’s going to be focused on 2017-18 and anxiously awaiting that RFP process. He wants it to go as smoothly as we all do. Tavares wants every reason to stay a New York Islander.