Tom Wilson rarely plays more than 10 minutes in a single Washington Capitals game, but according to head coach Adam Oates, the big 19-year-old forward has nothing to gain from representing Canada at the upcoming World Juniors.
“For me, Willie’s an NHL player,” Oates said. “He’s conquered junior. Nothing against that tournament at all, [but] I think he’s moved past it.”
Wilson, not surprisingly, echoed his coach’s thoughts.
“It’s obviously a dream to play for your country but my priority is here in Washington,” Wilson said. “I think [the Capitals] had in mind what they wanted. I’m not really going to dwell on it.
“I’m wishing those guys the best and it’s going to be a great tournament, but I’m happy to be here.”
Wilson was drafted 16th overall by the Caps in 2012. He spent last season with the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers, for whom he scored 58 points in 48 games.
But one thing he never got to do was play for Canada at the World Juniors; he was one of the last cuts from the 2013 team that finished a disappointing fourth in Russia.
“After I was cut, so many [NHL] alumni were tweeting at me saying, ‘Hey, listen. I got cut back in the day two or three times,'” Wilson said.
“That was a goal of mine when I got cut — to make them kind of almost want me that much more this year and not have me available and beg for me. There was a lot of motivation to do that.”
Is this going to be the last year we see John Tavares in a New York Islanders uniform?
That will likely be the question that surrounds the Islanders as long as Tavares is around and he hasn’t signed a long-term extension with the only club he’s ever played for.
The Tampa Bay Lightning went through this a couple of years ago with Steven Stamkos. In the end, the sniper opted to remain with the club that drafted him. Will Tavares do the same thing? Only time will tell. But what happens if Tavares doesn’t sign before the trade deadline?
The Bolts had to chose between keeping Stamkos for a playoff push and risk losing him for nothing, or trading him for a few assets to make sure they got something to show for him. The situation worked out well for Lightning GM Steve Yzerman.
Players like Tavares rarely make it to free agency, which is why it could be tempting for him to wait until July 1st to see what he could fetch on the open market.
The 26-year-old holds all the cards. He’s already said that he’s in no hurry to sign a new contract extension.
“For me, there’s really no rush,” Tavares told Newsday last week. “I’m trying to determine things, let the process run its course, keep the lines of communication open, keep it all internal and it’s been good so far . . . In terms of signing a new contract, there’s a lot that goes into it. To really dive into all the details, get into all the conversations I’ve had with Garth [Snow], the team and Doug [Weight], I don’t think it’s productive to the situation and the negotiating. I prefer to keep it all internal, that’s the best way to keep it all open, honest and healthy.”
Since he joined the Islanders as an 18-year-old in 2009-10, he hasn’t exactly been surrounded by incredible talent. Sure, New York has had some quality players on their roster, but they’ve always leaned heavily on Tavares.
This summer, they traded away inconsistent forward Ryan Strome to the Oilers for proven scorer Jordan Eberle, who could see some time on Tavares’ wing. Will it be enough to convince him to stay?
The biggest difference between the Tavares/Stamkos situation, is that Stamkos expected to Lightning to be very competitive over the next few years (yes, they missed the playoffs this year, but the future still looks bright). Can the Islanders superstar expect the same from his organization?
Many have already speculated that he could decide to sign with his hometown team, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Even though the Leafs have plenty of talented forwards on their roster, they could still benefit from having a guy like no. 91 around.
Will he stay or will he go? Let us know what you think by voting in the poll below. Feel free to leave your opinion in the comments section.
Understatement 1: the 2016-17 season was rough for the New York Islanders.
Understatement 2:John Tavares‘ future is a pretty big deal, to Islanders and hockey fans alike.
Many of the worries surrounding the second understatement stem from the first one; last season was rough, to the point that people are worried that Tavares’ confidence might be shaking in the Isles.
Of course, it’s not just about the 2016-17 season.
After all, they’ve only won one playoff series (eliminating the Panthers in 2016) since 1992-93. If Tavares is growing impatient with the Islanders’ process, then 2017-18 stands as potentially integral in keeping him around. Islanders fans cringe at such talk, but there’s no sense pretending that isn’t an issue on Isles day.
I can't wait until this is over. Either he signs and I laugh or he's gone and I say goodbye, too. I've wasted enough energy on this already.
The Islanders are sticking with Doug Weight as head coach after a largely successful interim run.
As far as changes go, GM Garth Snow traded Ryan Strome for Jordan Eberle, a player Tavares has some history and chemistry with. That was a good way to entice Tavares … but trading away Travis Hamonic might not have been the most endearing move. At least since the Islanders didn’t land, say, Matt Duchene for their troubles.
There’s always the chance that a Duchene deal – or some other upgrade – could still be in the works, but as is, this off-season feels more like a lateral move for the Islanders. The draft picks they got for Hamonic probably don’t mean much for Tavares, after all.
Islanders day will explore many facets of the team on Monday. Some might not even revolve around that Tavares fellow.
Malkin on ‘workaholic’ Crosby, Penguins’ chances for three Cups in a row
It’s not surprising to see Malkin praise Crosby and pump up the Penguins’ chances. Last year, he showed confidence in Pittsburgh’s repeat chances and professed an interest in being on the same team with Crosby for the next “10 years.”
This summer’s been a great one for Geno, with plenty of team honors mixing with some great individual feats. For example:
Congratulations to Evgeni Malkin for winning the 2017 Kharlamov Trophy (most valuable Russian NHL player). 📷: Malkin's Instagram pic.twitter.com/7gw9ZrzIlf
Montreal Canadiens forward Paul Byron is so speedy on the ice, his skating can sometimes be intimidating, particularly when he’s on the penalty kill.
Every now and then, we’ll see, say, a floppy-haired snowboarder also show some serious skateboarding acumen, and skateboarding seems to blend well with surfing to boot. So what about ice skating and skateboarding?