It appears the Islanders star forward and captain was also dealing with a hand injury that was finally operated on last month, according to a report from Arthur Staple of Newsday.
The Islanders captain had the surgery a week after the season ended to fix an issue that lingered through much of the season, the sources confirmed. His hand is still in a cast, which is scheduled to be off next week, giving Tavares ample time to go through his rigorous offseason training without missing any time, the sources said. He has already had one follow-up visit and his hand is recovering on schedule, according to the sources.
The latter portion of that report at least sounds promising for the beginning of next season, although Tavares’ future with the Islanders will likely continue under the microscope.
Now 26 years old, Tavares is about to enter the final year of his current six-year, $33 million deal that comes with a $5.5 million cap hit, but reports have suggested that he will be in line for a significant raise — and term — with a potential new deal. He will be eligible to sign a new deal with the Islanders on July 1. He’s a pending unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2017-2018 season.
He had 28 goals and 66 points in 77 games with the Islanders this season. He has reiterated in the recent past that he wants to get a deal done with the Islanders.