At the time, it was music to the ears of Isles fans, because it meant their captain and franchise player wanted to stay.
“I’m excited about where the Islanders are headed,” said Tavares, “and hopefully we can work something out.”
Alas, it’s now the summer and no extension has been announced yet. Tavares became eligible to sign one July 1.
Granted, it’s no big deal that Tavares didn’t sign in the first few days he could. Isles GM Garth Snow has been a busy man, and massive contracts typically take time to negotiate.
But according to Newsday, citing “various league sources,” a big reason for the delay is the Islanders’ arena situation, and that may not be solved for a while.
As you’ve no doubt heard, the team wants to move out of Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and ownership intends to bid on a development proposal for Belmont Park.
The problem there is that the RFP for Belmont Park has yet to be issued by the state. First there has to be a public hearing on July 10, then the RFP has to get finalized. Then the bids have to be received, and then it could take a few months to pick a winner.
Oh, and even if the Isles win, then the arena has to get built. So where will the team play while that’s happening? Barclays? MSG? Nassau Coliseum?
Bottom line: It’s hard to imagine the Islanders having any arena certainty by the start of next season, and Tavares can become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
In other words, if Tavares wants to know where he’ll be working — and you could hardly blame him for that — this one may come down to the wire.