Tavares open to signing contract extension this summer

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LOS ANGELES — John Tavares can become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2018, and there’s plenty of talk around the league about his future.

But based on what Tavares said today, all that talking may be a waste of time. The New York Islanders’ captain, one of the best centers in the game, said he’s open to negotiating a contract extension this summer.

The CBA allows him to sign one on July 1.

“Yeah, of course. Yeah, for sure,” Tavares said. “I mean, I’ve always stated how much I enjoy playing on Long Island, and the organization, how well they’ve supported me. Obviously, we’ve had some new ownership come in. They’ve brought some real good commitment and show their vision for the future. I’m excited about where the Islanders are headed, and hopefully we can work something out.”

Of course, Tavares understands there’s going to be speculation regardless of what he says.

“It is what it is,” he said. “Obviously, my contract’s coming up in a year and a half. People are talking, but all I can do is just focus on playing the game and try to make the playoffs. … It’s obviously been an up-and-down year for us and (head coach Jack Capuano) getting let go wasn’t easy.”

But Tavares doesn’t see this season’s struggles as emblematic of a problem with the franchise. He’s committed to the Isles, and he believes the Isles are committed to winning.

Related: All of a sudden the Isles are back in the playoff race