As the end of the season approaches with a slim chance that the Islanders make the playoffs, there is one date in the mind of all Islander fans. That day is July 1, 2017. This is the date the Islanders can re-sign John Tavares to a new deal. If he is not willing to sign on July 1st, 2017, the Islanders front office will have to consider the unthinkable; trading their franchise cornerstone. You cannot let him leave come July 1, 2018 for nothing.
The real question is: Why would John Tavares want to re-sign with the Islanders when they have given him little to work with over his career. They have to show him they will do whatever it takes to win. Could you imagine what the Islanders would be like without John Tavares? Better yet, Tavares is the Islanders. Last April, fans saw what he was truly capable of. He willed the Islanders to their first playoff series win in twenty-three years. He is everything you want in a captain. However, he cannot do it all himself anymore. No one can. It has been time to get him the help he needs to take this team to the Stanley Cup.
If the Islanders have to do the unthinkable and trade Tavares, all 31 teams will be lining up for his services. These four teams would be the top of the list of suitable trade partners for Tavares:
- Toronto Maple Leafs
- Edmonton Oilers
- Buffalo Sabres
- Winnipeg Jets
Imagine Tavares with any of the players from those teams. Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, Jack Eichel or Patrik Laine. Any of these four players with John Tavares would be a solid 1-2 punch in the NHL. It is scary to think that Tavares could possibly be in a different jersey.
Now, what does the Islanders contract offer to their captain look like, come July 1? He is a superstar and needs to be paid like a superstar. The Islanders are the only team that can offer him eight years. So it will be an eight-year contract, but for how much? Franchise players tend to get 7-8 years for an average of 8 million – 11 million a year. What is Tavares worth? This will most likely be his contract offer from the Islanders: eight years for 74 million (9.25 AAV).
The Islanders will have to consider everything this off-season.