John Tavares’ mindset hasn’t changed: He wants to remain with the Islanders despite the uncertainty of the franchise’s future home and the lack of a contract extension.
“I’ve enjoyed my time being an Islander and I want that experience to continue,” the team’s captain told TSN in Toronto on Tuesday. “For me, I just want to get ready for the upcoming season and work on being the best player I can be for the Islanders.”
The 26-year-old, however, declined to go into specifics on the negotiations of a contract extension. He has just one year left on the six-year, $33 million deal he inked with the Isles in 2011. He became eligible to sign an extension on July 1.
“I think I’ll just keep that all internal,” Tavares said, when asked about the talks. “We’ve had great open communication, it’s obviously a great place to play.”
Nevertheless, the two sides have been unable to come to terms. Losing Tavares would be a massive blow to the Islanders, who took the center first overall in the 2009 draft and helped him develop into one of the premier players in the sport, who notched 66 points a year ago. Led by Tavares, the Islanders have reached the playoffs three of the past five seasons, and in 2016 won a round in the postseason for the first cheap jerseys nhl time in 23 years.
By landing skilled right wing Jordan Eberle in a trade with the Oilers that cost forward Ryan Strome, the Islanders added the kind of goal-scorer to pair with Tavares they have previously lacked. They also gave interim coach Doug Weight, who is close to Tavares, the permanent position, another move to entice the star playmaker to remain.
But there still are questions about the team’s future home. The Islanders are expected to opt out of their current 25-year lease at Barclays Center in January, which would allow them to look at other options in the area following a disappointing two years in Brooklyn. The Islanders are expected to submit a proposal for a new arena at Belmont Park after New York State announced their long-awaited Request for Proposals on Monday.