On the New York Islanders …
Steven Marcus of Newsday: Pending unrestricted free agent John Tavares on if he’d decline to sign a contract extension with the Islanders before the end of the season.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a foregone conclusion. There’s no question my focus mostly right now is to help the team get to the playoffs. And obviously, we’re right in the thick of things.”
The Islanders are on the outside of the playoff race, but still in the hunt. If the Islanders missed the playoffs, would that mean he wouldn’t re-sign?
“No. No,” he said. “Things happen and change so quickly with the standings and how tight it is for us and where we stand right now. I’m never going to close the door on anything, but at the same time, the priority is to help this team get to the playoffs . . . Whether anything happens between now and then, we’ll see.”
Chris Nichols of FanRag Sports: Darren Dreger was on TSN 1260 and said that he was a bit surprised that Islanders GM Garth Snow didn’t do much before the trade deadline. Many thought the Islanders should have added a goaltender.
believes that re-signing Josh Bailey would have a positive aspect on Tavares, but in the end, Tavares just wants to win. It doesn’t appear that the Islanders are close to being a Cup contender.
“But then you look at what Stamkos did – I mean, he took it right down to the wire. In the end, he ended up signing with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The difference, of course though, is Stamkos knew that if he left the Lightning, he was leaving a great opportunity to hoist that Stanley Cup. And Tavares can’t say the same thing about the Islanders.
“So there’s some tricky times ahead here, but it’s his call. I know that Snow and the Islanders are waiting for that phone to ring or for him to come in and say, ‘Let’s get this done.’ I don’t think it’s going to happen now, and I wouldn’t have said that a couple of months ago.”
can’t see the New York Rangers being a fit for Tavares if he hits free agency. The Rangers are in a rebuilt. If he looks to sign elsewhere, he’ll look to win a cup as soon as possible.
“… And look, I believe St. Louis is going to be a primary contender. I think the San Jose Sharks are going to be a primary contender. I can’t imagine – can’t imagine – that Marc Bergevin, who’s got a real good relationship with Pat Brisson, who represents John Tavares, isn’t going to do everything within his human power to convince him to go to the Montreal Canadiens. But whether or not Tavares wants to enter into that world and that circus, I guess time will tell.”