John Tavares’ future with the New York Islanders may be decided within the next 60 hours or so. No matter what happens the Islanders will have to move forward.
Ideally, sometime between now and Saturday word comes down that the New York Islanders and John Tavares have come to an agreement on a new eight-year contract.
In this scenario, everything is looking up for the Isles. They would be pairing Tavares with the best coach he would have played for in the NHL, in Barry Trotz. Lou Lamoriello is overlooking the Islanders and has them in their best position in a long time.
With a re-signed Tavares the Isles would have locked down their number one center. Pairing Tavares and Mathew Barzal would keep their dynamic one-two center punch intact. Lamoriello could then just turn his attention to strengthening the defense and goaltending.
Islander fans would and should be optimistic about next season. Tavares has everything one can want in a Captain and would easily go down as one of the most beloved Islanders in history. Especially, if in the next few seasons if he does a victory lap with the Stanley Cup in hand.
If Tavares Leaves
Islander fans have had July 1 circled on their calendars forever. After June 30th the Islanders lose their advantage of being able to sign Tavares to an eighth year. Tavares would almost certainly be donning a new sweater if he is not signed before Sunday.
In that case, Barzal would almost surely be jumped to the top center position. Barzal had a phenomenal rookie season, capped off with a Calder Trophy. Would he be able to handle topline duties? Only time would tell.
Luckily, the acquisitions of Trotz and Lamoriello have appeared to give the Islanders some credibility. 2016 Calder Trophy winner Artemi Panarin wants a trade out of Columbus and the Islanders are on the list of his preferred destinations.
Without Tavares, the Islanders immediate future wouldn’t seem as bright. They might end up in the same position they were this past season, Out of playoff contention come February.
Most Islander fans will agree they hope to see 91 back in the Islanders blue and orange sweater next season. There is a reason the Tavares sweepstakes have been so highly covered. He is a great player and can be a franchise changer wherever he goes.
Tavares has been the face of the Islanders since the moment he was drafted in 2009. With Trotz and Lamoriello at the helm, the Isles finally have major credibility. Tavares has said he wants to remain an Islander. Well, with the Islanders bringing in a Stanley Cup pedigree (and Stanley Cup champion coach) the ball is in Tavares’ court.