As the New York Islanders closed out the year with exit interviews, Mathew Barzal was asked if he'd given any thought to signing a long-term extension with the team that drafted him 16th overall in 2015.
His answer was about as clear as it possibly could be: "This is home. This is where I want to be. This is where I want to win. I love my life here. [...] I would love to sign long term here." Listen to the full spot here and get the rest of the quote:
New York Islanders Barzal on desire to sign long-term extension
Now the cynics will say: "Where have I heard that before?" And, well they have a point, we all remember 2018 and what happened. But this isn't 2018. This isn't the same situation.
For the first part, Barzal is still an RFA. The Islanders still control Barzal's rights when his current contract expires. Of course, that doesn't stop him from signing an offer sheet with another club, but the Isles can match it. Although based on what he said in the exit interview why would he sign an offer sheet?
Barzal is saying all of the right things here. Again, some might respond with: "so did the other guy." That's not Barzal's fault now, is it? Just because that other guy said all the right things doesn't invalidate anyone else who does after him.
There's nothing more Barzal can say in this situation other than what his desire is. It's not as if his camp and the Islanders have been going back and forth on a new contract for months. With a year left on his current deal, they can't even begin talking about an extension until July 1, 2022.
There have been no talks between the two camps and there won't be for a little while still. So this is all we have to go on. From a fan perspective, I loved everything he said.