Islanders deciding what to do with franchise centre John Tavares

The Hockey Night panel takes a look at the biggest stories from around the league, with the New York Islanders deciding what to do with John Tavares and how the Maple Leafs might not mind William Nylander being mired in a scoring slump.

Don’t hold your breath for any news regarding John Tavares.

The New York Islanders captain, a pending unrestricted free agent, isn’t expected to be dealt before the trade deadline nor is there a contract extension on the table.

When it comes to a potential trade, the Islanders (14-7-2) are holding down a top-three seed in the Metropolitan Division and seem more willing to hold on to their best player. It’s worth noting that Tavares, who’s in the final season of a six-year, $33-million deal, has no-movement and modified no-trade clauses in his contract.

“Obviously, this is John Tavares’s decision, but I think the Islanders are very content to let this play out,” Elliotte Friedman said on Saturday’s Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada. “I don’t necessarily think the trade deadline is a deadline for the Islanders here. If they have to keep going past it, I think they’re perfectly prepared to do it.

“The team has the fourth-best goal differential in the East. They’re coming along very well. (Mathew) Barzal looks like a player. (Josh) Ho-Sang’s improving. I think New York’s comfortable enough say, ‘Look, we think we’re getting better as a team. We’ll take our chances.’

“I know there are teams out there that won’t trade their best assets and will keep cap space until the deadline just in case. But the feeling right now is nothing’s going to happen.”

As for a new deal for the 27-year-old Tavares, who has 15 goals and 26 points in 23 games, that could take some time, especially with uncertainty surrounding Islanders’ future home rink.

“No formal offers to John Tavares at this point and none expected anytime soon,” Nick Kypreos said. “Let’s face it: this could be an easy negotiation for Tavares and the Islanders. He could command as much as (Connor) McDavid’s contract. It would be eight years in the ballpark of 11 or 12 million dollars (per year).

“This is much more than that. This is Tavares looking for some sort of stability out of the Islanders and knowing exactly where ownership is. Ownership has been great up until this point. But the big thing is, of course: where are they going to be playing in a few years? Although they may think they have some locations pinpointed in Belmont Park, there’s no shovel in the ground.

“So if Tavares was to happen to get a new building, it wouldn’t happen for three years. That would be three different homes for Tavares over his career. Some may be suggesting that he maybe might not be willing to wait that long.”

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