Sunday NHL Rumor Mill – August 6, 2017
Latest take on John Tavares’ contract status and updates on the Minnesota Wild in your Sunday NHL rumor mill.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks takes another look at the contract stalemate between John Tavares and the New York Islanders. Noting Tavares’ insistence that he wants to remain an Islander, he observes Ryan Callahan said the same thing about the NY Rangers during the final season of his contract and wound up dealt to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Brooks speculates the future of the Islanders “from the standpoint of either personnel or absence of an identifiable future and permanent geographic location, if not both” could explain why the Isles captain hasn’t re-signed yet. While Tavares’ situation is being compared to that of Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos before he re-signed with the Lightning, Brooks points out the Islanders lack the recent playoff success and low state tax the Bolts enjoy.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The speculation about Tavares’ future has only just begun. It will ramp up significantly if he hasn’t re-signed when training camp opens next month and will persist throughout the upcoming season.
While it’s easy for fans and pundits to compare Tavares’ contract situation to those of comparable stars, each has their own unique issues to deal with. As Brooks notes, the direction of the Islanders on the ice and their arena issues are probably significant factors. If so, it’s understandable why he could prefer taking a “wait-and-see” approach to next season.
In Stamkos’ case, it’s worth noting that, despite the Lightning’s 2015 run to the Stanley Cup Final and to the 2016 Eastern Conference Final and Florida’s low taxes, he still waited until almost the last minute before re-upping with the Bolts. And as Brooks pointed out regarding Callahan, the Rangers unwillingness to give him a no-trade clause was a deal breaker.
Tavares is at a key point in his career. He’s 26, in his playing prime and wants to play for a Stanley Cup champion. His next contract will be an expensive long-term deal. The Isles will undoubtedly open the vault for him so I doubt money and term are the issues here. If he’s going to invest the next eight years in the Islanders, he probably wants to ensure they’re building toward a championship.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Russo recently reported Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher recently indicated he’s hopeful of having enough salary-cap space left after re-signing restricted free agent Marcus Foligno to add another player via free agency.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild currently have just over $3 million in salary-cap space. Foligno earned $2.25 million last season with the Buffalo Sabres. Re-signing him will use up most of that cap room unless Fletcher sheds some salary. Early last month, it was reported the Wild has interest in UFA center Matt Cullen but there’s been nothing new on his status since then.