Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 18, 2018

by | Mar 18, 2018 | Rumors | 33 comments

New York Islanders captain John Tavares is the subject of this Sunday’s NHL rumor roundup.

TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons believes the worst the New York Islanders play, “the more drooling there seems to be over the possibility of John Tavares hitting the free-agent market in July.” He said teams “are already beginning to put together considered pitches” for the Islanders captain if he becomes the rare star who changes teams via free agency. He also thinks it no longer makes any sense for Tavares to remain loyal to the struggling Isles and it’s now time for the superstar to make a move.

The future of New York Islanders captain John Tavares remains a hot topic in the NHL rumor mill. (Photo via NHL Images)

Simmons feels the San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues “are thought to be at the top of the list of suitors should he make himself available.” He also believes clubs with salary-cap space this summer and the need for a first-line center, such as the Vancouver Canucks, Vegas Golden Knights and New Jersey Devils, could also come calling, along with the Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings and Carolina Hurricanes. Simmons also thinks the Toronto Maple Leafs could “juggle numbers” to see if landing Tavares is possible, though “it probably makes little sense position-wise or salary-cap-wise.”

SPORTSNET: Nick Kypreos reports the Islanders didn’t do any favors for Tavares by failing to bolster their roster at the trade deadline. “It almost feels like this thing is snowballing away from the Islanders and Tavares,” said Kypreos, who also noted a “lot of eyebrows being raised” by the Isles deciding to move Tavares to left wing for today’s game against Carolina.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks doesn’t see Tavares joining the Rangers as a free agent. “So he is going to leave the perpetually building Islanders, where he can sign for eight years, to come to the rebuilding Rangers, where he could only sign for seven years? Why?”

FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cited TSN’s Darren Dreger’s appearance Friday on Buffalo’s WGR 550 discussing the notion of the Islanders doing a “sign-and-trade” with Tavares if the two sides are unable to reach agreement on a new contract before July 1. Dreger considers it unlikely, pointing out such a move is unprecedented at that time of year plus the Isles remain hopeful of keeping Tavares in the fold.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If we take Tavares at his word, staying with the Islanders doesn’t depend upon making the playoffs this season. Of course, he made those remarks when the Isles still had a shot at reaching the postseason dance. He and Isles general manager Garth Snow have said all the right things since last summer about a new contract, but the discussions aren’t expected to rev up until after the season is over.

Tavares has been very loyal to the Islanders, but there’s little to indicate the club is building toward Stanley Cup contender status. After nine seasons and with free agency beckoning, the 27-year-old Tavares is at a career crossroads and must choose between loyalty to the only NHL club he’s ever played with or joining a team that gives him a better shot at winning the Cup.

If Tavares decides to move on, the Sharks and Blues could be the front-runners. The Golden Knights made a pitch for Erik Karlsson at the trade deadline so I don’t rule them out as a potential destination. He’d not only make the Golden Knights better but would also give them their first marketable superstar. 

The Devils could be an interesting option. Given Tavares’ loyalty to the Isles, perhaps he wouldn’t be comfortable joining a nearby rival. The Leafs could be tempted but they’ve already got a first-line superstar center in Auston Matthews, along with depth at center with William Nylander and Nazem Kadri. Their biggest need is for a top-two defenseman, not a first-line center. Blowing their budget signing Tavares won’t address that need.

What Brooks wrote about the Rangers also applies to the Canadiens, Canucks, Red Wings and Hurricanes. I’ll be very surprised if he lands with one of those clubs this summer. 



  1. If I could point to an obvious slam dunk suitor, I’d feel 99% confident in saying Tavares is gone.

    The teams that can afford to give him BIG money, for various reasons, might not appeal to him.

    Habs fans need to read Brooks’ logic and replace the word Rangers with Canadiens. Unless they offer him 20% of the cap, I don’t see him going to the Habs…or Canes, for that matter.

    SJ and Vegas make some sense. STL only does if they are finally ready to be a cap team. They quietly employ a Melynk like approach.

    I still think he could end up with the Leafs. Sign him and Matthews long term, trade one of Marner or Nylander in a package for a D. That’s their path to a parade. But, can they get Tavares to take Stamkos/Toews money instead of McDavid money? Maybe. I don’t see any other true contender poised to sign him.


    Prediction- JVR to NJD. 6/36.

    • Mg if you listen to brooks you need help! He will turn his story around within a week, he basically has no idea what he is talking about

    • StL is spending to the cap. How does that employ a Melnyk type approach?

      • St. Louis has been spending to the cap saving 1-2 mil aside for further moves (per Armstrong). Now with 7.5 mil off the table by Stastny’s departure, St. Louis is in great cap position to chase Tavares.

      • Striker I think what hurts Blues is their dealings around deadline… Last year they flipped Shattenkirk when it looked like they would miss out… Then this year they trade Stasny to Jets when at one point I think they had best record in NHL in September. I thought Blues had a shot at Cup for this year way they were doing. So I don’t think he would go there feeling they not doing enough to win or making deals to improve at deadline…Though Yeo can’t be blamed for Wild anymore since he has done well w/ them. Just seems like they are a team snakebit when comes to ever winning a Cup. I’d see Tavares on Florida before the Blues :). Even the Devils I could see as more logical than Rangers or Carolina. Seems like NJ has a real nice mix along w/ a decent SCF history compared to other options he would have. Besides as a player if I wanted to win it would be tough in the Central division. Jets were usually a doormat, Wild are really strong at home, Nashville is doing pretty well, Chicago I expect will rebound, even Avalanche, Stars are looking better than most in the Pacific :). Eichel is due for 10M cap hit if want to talk about an awful contract. I’m thinking Tavares will likely be 11-13M which limits his options. Sharks paying Jumbo Joe 8M seem obvious depending on what Kane would cost if they keep him. I don’t think Tavares is keen on playing in California or even the Western Conference. I expect he would sign w/ CBJ before leaving the East for example ;).

    • FYI MG, Habs fans with a clue know JT is a total pipe dream as a free agent signing. Please ignore and dimiss any Hab fan saying otherwise.

      Snow was in a bit of a bind at the deadline. Any quality player pick up would have meant giving up one of their first rounders. Problem is both could be lottery picks. Two kicks at the Dahlen can are kind of hard to give up on.

      • You might be right about Habs… Though Snow blew it at the deadline much like the VEgas GM. When Tatar is getting like 10-15 minutes of ice time w/ a giveaway as a normal stat line :). Leipsic another guy who they did a dumb trade helping Canucks. I see Maroon for a 3rd rounder or Ian Cole to CBJ for that compared to Snow flipping a 3rd rounder for Davison who was on waivers from Montreal before Oilers got him. So fine on not doing a big splash since they got Flames pick to help chances of draft lottery. Islanders should finish in 11th place in East. Tavares is the major reason why they went on that 8 game dip or so… He had like no points during that span except like on a ENG. CBJ is more likely than Montreal though I think he stays on Islanders… HE has new arena coming, Barzal best rookie stat wise since Volek only trailing Bossy and Trottier. The forward group is under contract I think w/ Defense likely to be better next year from less injury to experience gained by playing this year. When see how teams like Devils, Avalanche, Flyers have rebounded I’d not panic just yet ;).

  2. The blame lies on Garth Snow and Ownership for allowing Snow to continue. However, if JT has no plans of signing here. He should have let management trade him at the deadline. If for nothing but out of respect for his teammates and the fans.But don’t potentially crap on your teammates or the fans that have supported.
    I also do not think as long time Islander fan signing JT is the answer. By signing him it gives the team some respectability. Still many holes to fill.

    • we got nothing for sundin on toronto maybe they will get nothing for tavares

      • Jeff,
        When a free agent leaves the team gets the money they would have paid him to pay someone else. An extra $12,000,000 in cap space is nothing to sneeze at! Services rendered, contract terminated. Just saying.

      • I remember having Sundin on fantasy keeper team at some point… The line on him was 40 goal hands w/ a 20 goal heart ;). They talked how he would be looking for hot girls in the crowd or losing concentration :). I guess he was into puck bunnies or whatever they call it. I remember this kid knew this girl from HS who was w/ Martin Stratka or so during his short time on Islanders :). Sometimes when lose a player you get a compensation draft pick in NHL… Unless they stopped dong that I know NFL still does pretty sure. Something like depends on what lose then how productive they are or overall net loss/gains I think unless its changed ;). They used to have a lot more draft rounds before going to 7… Congrats on Donato getting his contract w/ Bruins ;).

    • LM this could be another disaster like Okposo when he had his big year then walked ;). Not to mention flipping Nido since he was miffed not playing… They got a lot to show for Moulson along w/ VAnek though those contracts didn’t pan out for teams who signed them since that time :). If JT wanted to leave he should have made it clear so they could flip him then fire Snow. Relationships are about how people make feel over what can remember detail wise. While Snow has had some nice signings or moments like trading STrome for Eberle. He still makes fans think of the painful years of losing not paying up to cap even carrying a Tim Thomas contract for the cap hit. Visnovsky refusing to play there too which he finally ended up being a really good player considering that start and age :).

  3. I give Brooks a week before he completely changes his tune on Tavares. It’s what he does.

    • Nyr4life
      Most of them do that. Just spit ball a bunch of ideas and then say they were right when it happens.

  4. NYR blew it up…..traded away their best defenseman. 3 of their top 6 wingers in PTS and are playing a unproven goalie in the NHL of late…..AND STILL have 2 more points than the NYI.

    I thought Bailey being signed would have kept JT…but GM Snow made no additions to get them over the hump and into the playoffs to make a cup run.

    Folks…JT very well may sign with the NYR who have a ton of cap space. JT#1C then Zib #2C and Hayes or Namestnikov slots #3C and whoever does not slots wing. Personally I would move Hayes up to wing (though he looks more comfortable at center as a shutdown center)
    Hank will have plenty of rest going into next season……

    If Brendan Smith can get traded that will free up even more cap space to make a bold move….perhaps signing John Carlson on the back end to be paired with Skjei.

    Gorgie can play back u next year all year IMO.

    JT may stay in NY and just move to Manhattan =) They can pull a $10m/7year for him and still have plenty of room to round out the roster quickly.

    lines could be

    whomever wins rookie camp

    ??/Pionk or DeAngelo

    Kampfer rotates in

    King Hank

    • I don’t think NY will have as much cap space as you’re thinking. 11 UFA and RFA’s. Spooner, Hayes, Skjei, Namestikov, etc. that’s going to eat a good portion.

      Staal, Beleskey, Smith are going nowhere. Those deals are stuck in NY at least for the foreseeable future.

      • Besides the fact that the Rangers are going nowhere? Lundqvist should have been traded also.

      • For a team that’s “going nowhere” they seem to be playing pretty good with a bunch of guys with little to no NHL experience.

        Ny has been a solid competitor for years, how long have people been drooling for the fall.

        Ny will be just fine. They started a rebuild 10 minutes ago…. let’s give them 20 minutes before we come to any conclusions.

        Last I checked, the Islanders are behind the Rangers in the standings. Does that mean they’re going nowhere… and not even stripped down rebuilding?

      • The leafs are on yr 50 of the rebuild with the rangers core I see them doing it a bit quicker

    • Rangers didn’t exactly blow it up. They made a decision to cash in on value of guys on expiring contracts instead of making an unrealistic run at a cup. Let’s not forget all the injuries this season. As mentioned, look at how they’re playing now with top guys back, not including Shattenkirk. They got younger and stockpiled picks and prospects. If anything, Gorton has stayed away from tying up high priced, older, free agents to long term deals. But yeah, if he’s not signing with Isles, he’ll definately consider Rangers

  5. With the salary cap expected to go up 5 million this next year it will bring a lot of teams into The JT sweepstakes. However buyer beware with the Canadian dollar in a free fall because of the lack of pipe lines and a free trade deal in question. The following year the cap Could be stagnant. As everyone realizes the main driver of the salary cap is a strong Canadian dollar.

    • Scott you knew CAnada money was in trouble when they had like that glow in the dark coin or whatever… I think they got rid of coin money a while back. Used to have Organic Hemp Bliss from Manitoba Harvest who stopped selling that in USA years ago… Then laughed at me when asked them to or tried to setup a way to order for free shipping even if had to get cases :). I think the guy running their government is the biggest worry to economy there. You got a lot of influx of people who don’t care about Hockey or have different way of life going there. Cuba of the North is what people call it or Venezuela :). Funny how those that want to give away free school, medicine, everything making a welfare state… When it comes to building a wall talk about how they need the money for those who invade illegally to have… Now they appointing people in government who are illegal invaders etc… I guess next if somebody breaks into home will have to give them deed then pay rent ;). I used to take advantage of the weak Canadian dollar to buy from this place in Winnipeg I think it was River City Sports or something advertised in THN Often. Back then I think it was 70 cents to the dollar, besides getting Sharks (Friesen) #39 jersey along w/ Kings cheap on sale when changed them decades ago :).

  6. This loyalty stuff is so old school I could puke! Tavares has played for several years for a team that has shown no ability to improve. He has put it on the line every game! It is his right to do whatever he chooses! He’s earned that. If he re signs with them, with Snow at the helm, he’s crazy and just as crazy to run to Bergervin and Hab land. To me the Blues, Sharks, and Knights make the most sense. New Conference and with teams who show promise for the future.

    • If Thornton moves on then the Sharks still have Pavelski, Kane and Co to add to Tavares! Could be the making of a great team with Burns and Jones on the back end.

      • If he goes to the Blues he fills the void with Statsny gone and can play with Tarasenko! Parayko (not sure how to spell that) and Bouwmeester on the back end with Jake Allen. Then you have Fabbri, Steen, Schenn; another decent option.

  7. I honestly thought JT would always sign with the islanders, but maybe it,S the islanders who are having second thoughts. They have lots of draft picks coming up this year and next, and maybe their thought process is we missed with JT and if we keep him they will have to pay him 10 – 12 million for 8 years which could bugger them going forward. They are in a good position to start a mini rebuild with out him and in preparation for their new building in 2 or 3 years

    • Quite possible Flamefan and if they don’t resign him they can use the $12,000,000 he will probably get on other players.

      • And with the Knights he can play with Neal, Karlsson, Marchessault, Haula, Shea Theodore, and Marc Andre Fleury! All three of these option (Sharks, Blues, and Knights) are better than what he already faces with going back to the Islanders.

        And so what if he signs with the Devils? In this case the Devil you know is not better than the one you don’t. I would think an NHL player as intelligent as Tavares would rather play for a team managed by Ray Shero than Garth Snow!

  8. I am not sure why Carolina gets lumped in with the rebuilding and declining clubs. Tavares is exactly what they need. That would only leave a better goalie between them and cup contention. Tavares would make them a lock for a playoff spot.

    • Put New Jersey in the same situation, Ryan. Tavares with either of those teams makes a lot of sense.
      BTW, when a post above lists all the really good players Tavares could join in Vegas, it’s just another reminder of the genius GM’s that exposed all of them in the expansion draft.

  9. Could florida fit him him. Trade Bjugdstad (spelling varies haha) and prospects and stuff in a sign and trade. Go Tavares and Barkov down the middle?

  10. Aside from maybe a handful of teams all would be interested in Tavares. Snow may get jobbed. A 4th to negotiate early might be all he gets. And the axe of course

    • I’m pretty sure the Islanders would get more than a 4th rounder this isn’t NFL :). I saw they traded that guy from Miami for like nothing who was supposed to be good Jarvis or something :). Even Bishop going to Stars from Kings I think got about a 4th rounder haha :). You gotta write articles to get people to read even if Tavares is staying it still makes conversation like Stamkos before he stayed in Tampa :).