Although Islanders center John Tavares isn’t slated to become an unrestricted free agent until July 1st, 2018, that hasn’t stopped the early speculation about whether or not he will re-sign with New York or look to go elsewhere. Speaking with TSN 690 in Montreal, TSN’s Darren Dreger commented on his situation (transcription via Fan Rag’s Chris Nichols):
“This one’s a little different bit than even, say, a year ago when the Stamkos watch really kicked into full gear because at least I believe at that point with Steven Stamkos that it was more likely he was going to stay in Tampa. Because above all else, he wanted a chance to win a Stanley Cup championship and that’s as good with the Tampa Bay Lightning, when healthy, as anywhere in the National Hockey League. And the term and the money is ultimately going to look after itself.”
Stamkos ultimately did re-sign with the Lightning, inking an eight year, $68MM deal back on June 29th, before the formal opening of free agency but he did speak with a handful of other teams during the free agent interview period. Dreger suggests that Tavares isn’t as likely to follow that path:
“[GM] Garth Snow can’t engage until July 1 in talking about a contract extension and I can’t see any way that John Tavares bites on an extension prior to late next season at the earliest. And why wouldn’t he go into July free agency in 2017 and see what the open market looks like. I mean, that’s good business sense and there’ll be a long list of teams that are probably a better fit to contend for a Stanley Cup in the near future than perhaps the Islanders might be.”
The 2018 UFA class is a lot more intriguing than the 2017 one with Tavares heading up a forward group that includes Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Rick Nash, and Kyle Turris. Montreal’s Carey Price is also a headline free agent that year, barring an extension getting done beforehand.
More Islanders news:
- Despite blowing a 3-0 lead to the Penguins, the team tied an NHL record last night, notes Brian Compton of NHL.com. Anders Lee scored in the final minute to give New York the lead and just three seconds later, Nikolai Kulemin put home an empty netter. That ties the Minnesota Wild (in 2004) and the St. Louis Eagles (in 1935) for the fastest two goals in a game in league history.
- Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, who has been out since November 12th with a broken jaw, is targeting this Sunday for a return to the lineup, reports Newsday’s Arthur Staple. The 35 year old is off to a strong start this season after being bought out by Boston in the summer with eight points in 15 games. For comparison purposes, his highest point total in the past three years is only 14.