The John Tavares contract situation will be one to watch this summer, as he enters the final year of his current deal.
Selected first overall in 2009, Tavares is a pending unrestricted free agent at the end of next season, so in that light, Islanders coach Doug Weight has expressed an urgency for the organization to get back to winning. Right away.
The Islanders missed the playoffs this past season by a single point. Along the way, their coach, Jack Capuano, was fired and Weight eventually named as his replacement.
Gone is the interim tag from Weight’s title. In an interview with TSN 1050 radio, he outlined in substantial detail his desire to have Tavares remain with the Islanders beyond next season.
“John is huge for us, he’s a wonderful leader and captain,” Weight told TSN 1050 radio. “He is generational. He’s that good and we’re going make him better and work with him. I want him here. Our organization wants him to be here and our owners want him to be here, and John knows we want him here. John’s a genius, but a simple genius. He wants to win, and that’s it. He wants to be a Hall of Fame player and he wants to win. And those are two great things.
“He’s been here seven, eight years and we need to put him in a position to win right now.”
The Islanders have been to the playoffs three times since the now 26-year-old Tavares joined the organization, but have never made it beyond the second round.
Tavares, whose NHL salary for next season is $6 million, per CapFriendly, is eligible to sign a new deal with the Islanders on July 1.
He has previously reiterated that he wants a contract extension with the Islanders.
Related: Report: Tavares underwent hand surgery after regular season