Understatement 1: the 2016-17 season was rough for the New York Islanders.
Understatement 2: John Tavares‘ future is a pretty big deal, to Islanders and hockey fans alike.
Many of the worries surrounding the second understatement stem from the first one; last season was rough, to the point that people are worried that Tavares’ confidence might be shaking in the Isles.
Of course, it’s not just about the 2016-17 season.
After all, they’ve only won one playoff series (eliminating the Panthers in 2016) since 1992-93. If Tavares is growing impatient with the Islanders’ process, then 2017-18 stands as potentially integral in keeping him around. Islanders fans cringe at such talk, but there’s no sense pretending that isn’t an issue on Isles day.
The Islanders are sticking with Doug Weight as head coach after a largely successful interim run.
As far as changes go, GM Garth Snow traded Ryan Strome for Jordan Eberle, a player Tavares has some history and chemistry with. That was a good way to entice Tavares … but trading away Travis Hamonic might not have been the most endearing move. At least since the Islanders didn’t land, say, Matt Duchene for their troubles.
There’s always the chance that a Duchene deal – or some other upgrade – could still be in the works, but as is, this off-season feels more like a lateral move for the Islanders. The draft picks they got for Hamonic probably don’t mean much for Tavares, after all.
Islanders day will explore many facets of the team on Monday. Some might not even revolve around that Tavares fellow.