There have been whispers by hockey fans, NHL insiders, and even organizations around the league that maybe John Tavares would leave the New York Islanders after his contract ends in 2018. The thinking being that the Islanders have a good team and are a nice organization, but Tavares would leave to find a team that can take him to the promised land.
These whispers of the Mississauga, Ontario native leaving the Islanders are nothing new. Leading into the 2009 draft when the Islanders had the #1 overall pick, then general manager of the Maple Leafs Brian Burke proclaimed he would bring Tavares home to Toronto. That, of course, didn’t happen.
Then, in the final year of his entry-level contract with New York, many whispers were floating that Tavares would ask to be traded at season’s end. Tavares responded by signing a six-year deal and proclaimed how dedicated he was and how much the Islander organization means to him.
In the past and in the present, it is clear Tavares is the new ‘Mr. Islander’.
— NHL (@NHL) July 27, 2016
This past season the whispers were back again. Tavares, with two years to go on his deal, has been rumored to be going home to Toronto after his deal expires to help them win their first Stanley Cup since 1967. But the cold water was thrown on that talk in a recent interview the Islanders captain gave to Sportsnet 590, Toronto. Tavares said the following:
I think I’ve always showed my commitment, my appreciation and my desire to play on Long Island. I would love for that to continue for the long haul. I think you look at some of the greatest players in the game have been able to spend their entire career somewhere and I hope I’m in that same position. They drafted me there, gave me a great opportunity to play this game that I love and fulfill my dream. Obviously, they’ve put a lot of high expectations into me, and I don’t take that lightly, and I’ve always enjoyed being there from Day One. I would love to see it through and obviously lift the Stanley Cup there.
It’s clear where Tavares wants to spend the rest of his career. Despite the recent changes Tavares is committed and dare I say loves being a key part of the New York Islanders organization.
Ownership Says JT Won’t Be a Free Agent
Tavares was not the only person recently to proclaim that he isn’t going anywhere. Scott Malkin and Jonathan Ledecky are the new ownership group that took over majority control on July 1. Ledecky, in a town hall meeting at the Barclays Center in mid-July, said the following:
You’re going to have a team that, if it needs to be a cap max team to compete for the Cup, it will be a cap max team. You guys have been through thick and thin and thick are really good and it’s going to get thicker. Our goal next year is to keep advancing in the playoffs. He’s (Tavares) not going to be a free agent.
It’s clear that ownership is committed to making John Tavares an Islander for life. Come next July 1st look for number 91 to sign a max eight-year contract with the New York Islanders.
— IslandersPointBlank (@IslandersPB) July 15, 2016
Both sides have put their cards on the table. Tavares and the Islander organization are all in with each other.