Everytime New York Islanders captain John Tavares says something it’s going to immediately be construed as a breadcrumb in a line of breadcrumbs that will lead us to the answer on what he plans on doing this season. Except it’s not.
Anything that New York Islanders John Tavares says from now until July 1st is going to be analyzed on its potential for revealing what his intentions are this summer. Anything. Absolutely anything. Even if it’s general comments about teammate Mathew Barzal.
He could be talking about where he buys his sticks. Or where he likes to vacation in the summer. Or better yet where he might be getting married to fiance Aryne Fuller.
All, while relatively important, reveal nothing about where he plans to go this year. Probably because even he himself has no clue where he’s going to go. So a line about the “future” of Mathew Barzal means just as much. Nothing.
His Due Diligence
On Tuesday, John Tavares spoke to Newsday’s Andrew Gross about Mathew Barzal and referenced the future.
"“His game keeps getting better and he’s just scratching the surface,” Tavares said. “There’s a lot of excitement in our group for him. Especially a guy with his talent and his drive to be successful, I’m excited to finish the season with him and looking forward to the future.”"
I bolded the ‘important’ part of the passage there. Did you read that and think Tavares was giving us all a ‘wink’ to say “don’t worry, I’ll be back?” No. You didn’t. And if you did, you shouldn’t.
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That comment was about as harmless as any Tavares comment you’ll ever hear. Like “We’re just trying to focus on the positives” or how about “we’re just trying to build shift to shift, period to period”?
Both were pulled from the same piece as the Barzal comments. Tavares isn’t dropping clues as to where he’s going to end up (ie: with the Islanders or elsewhere). He’s just providing a general statement and giving some love where love is due in relation to his teammate Barzal.
Let’s be honest, Tavares knows one thing about his future right now; he’s got a big decision to make. He already knows he’s going to see what’s out there in free agency.
He’s going to see what his skills will bring on the open market. There’s no doubt of this by now. Remember, Tavares and all unrestricted free agents get a few days (see NHL CBA exhibit 15 page 344) to talk and interview with teams after the draft to go before they actually become free agents on July 1st.
It’s all part of him completing his due diligence. He’s going to dot all the “I’s” and cross all the “T’s” before he signs his next deal. Now that doesn’t mean he’s going to leave the Islanders. It just means he’s going to make an informed decision.
We aren’t going to learn anything from John Tavares about his next contract until he actually signs one. Until then, all Tavares speculation is “much ado about nothing”.