If the New York Islanders’ waiting game with John Tavares didn’t have any more drama, the New York Post’s Larry Brooks writes that the critical deadline in the team’s quest to get state approval for a state-of-the-art arena at Belmont Park is a more than four months away, which will likely come near the NHL trade deadline. Tavares, who has made it clear that he wants to wait for certainty of a long-term home in New York, might not have an answer when he must make a decision.
In fact, Brooks writes that no one he has talked to has any idea if an answer will come before the deadline, let alone before free agency begins on July 1. The approval process has multiple bidders and may need more time than normal estimates. Regardless, owners and even Tavares would probably be more than willing to wait until July 1 to wait for the state’s decision. However, Brooks writes that it’s the trade deadline that will cause the real problem. With likely no idea of whether they will get the state’s approval before the trade deadline, it’s quite possible the Islanders will have to make a decision whether to hope for the best and wait it out with Tavares (with the possibility of losing him for nothing) or trade him before the trade deadline, which could present quite a haul if Tavares plays well this year.
Brooks writes the team might be able to get quality assets from teams that Tavares might be willing to sign with, such as the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs or the Tampa Bay Lightning.
- Charlie O’Connor of The Athletic (subscription required) writes that Philadelphia Flyers wing Jakub Voracek is starting to take his game to a new level this year. After what many referred to as a poor preseason, the 28-year-old veteran has played great and while he hasn’t scored a goal, he has put up nine assists in five games so far and is emphasizing unselfish play. Voracek, always a solid playmaker, had 20 goals and 41 assists last year.
- Troy Machir of NBC Sports writes that Madison Bowey NHL debut isn’t going to be a memorable one for the rookie defenseman after the team lost to the Philadelphia Flyers 8-2. Called up to replaced the injured Matt Niskanen who is likely to be out until early November with an upper body injury, Bowey struggled, making several miscues in his 14:55 of ice time. He finished with a plus/minus of -3 and, according to Machir, didn’t look ready for the big-league club.