Though the offseason is usually filled with various subplots, it’s safe to predict which two will be front and center for the Isles this summer.
The first is the negotiation of captain John Tavares‘ contract.
The second is the decision to keep interim head coach Doug Weight, or go in a different direction.
Under the CBA, Tavares is eligible to sign a new deal with the Isles on July 1. Back at January’s All-Star Game in Los Angeles, the 26-year-old said he was hoping to get something done.
“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.”
Today, he reiterated as much.
Tavares is heading into the last of a six-year, $33 million deal with a $5.5M cap hit. It’s already been suggested he could join Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Anze Kopitar in the $10 million cap hit club, but deals of that magnitude take time to negotiate. Kopitar, you’ll recall, had to wait until January of the final year of his contract before securing an eight-year, $80 million extension from the Kings.
In addition to extension talks, Tavares also touched on Weight today.
“[He] sparked the great finish we had, a lot of guys responded,” No. 91 said, per WRHU Sports. “Have a lot of respect for [Weight].”
The Isles went 24-12-4 after Weight took over from Jack Capuano, and made a furious push for the playoffs. New York’s two big veteran free agent signings, Andrew Ladd and Jason Chimera, seemed to come alive under Weight after struggling to start the campaign under Capuano.
Unsurprisingly, Weight said he really wanted to be back behind the bench next season.
“It’s going to be healthier for us as a franchise and an organization to move forward as quick as we can and figure things out,” Weight said Sunday, per NHL.com. “That’s where I’ll leave that. I’m going to meet with everybody. First of all, no matter where I am, hopefully in this organization somewhere whether it’s here or somewhere else helping this team win, the city, the fans get what they deserve, a consistent winner.
“We’ve got to get the players off and talk about what they have to do in the offseason and talk about this year and to focus on getting off to a good start next year. But I’m going to think everything over, I’m going to talk to my bosses, which I think we all know we have to do, and figure this out.