The New York Islanders appear to have come to a decision on what they will do with John Tavares this year, and while it isn't surprising, it's a very risky decision to take.
The Islanders sit third in a stacked Metropolitan division with a 14-7-2 record and with players the like of Matthew Barzal, Josh Ho-Sang and Josh Bailey having great years along with the captain, the time seems right for them to make a push for the Stanley Cup this year.
“Obviously, this is John Tavares’s decision, but I think the Islanders are very content to let this play out,” Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman said on Hockey Night in Canada. “I don’t necessarily think the trade deadline is a deadline for the Islanders here. If they have to keep going past it, I think they’re perfectly prepared to do it.
“The team has the fourth-best goal differential in the East," Friedman added. "They’re coming along very well. (Mathew) Barzal looks like a player. (Josh) Ho-Sang’s improving. I think New York’s comfortable enough say, ‘Look, we think we’re getting better as a team. We’ll take our chances.’
“I know there are teams out there that won’t trade their best assets and will keep cap space until the deadline just in case. But the feeling right now is nothing’s going to happen.”
Obviously nothing is ever set in stone, but when you have a player of Tavares' ilk in the lineup, you don't give him up easily, and it appears clear now that the Islanders will take their chance with their superstar.
There isn't a contract offer on the table right now for Tavares, and they're banking on the arena deal panning out in Belmont Park. That proposed plan would only provide an arena in a few years, and they have to hope Tavares is willing to wait it out.
This news will come to the disappointment of many teams and its fans.