Of all the pending unrestricted free agents this year, John Tavares is the biggest. Just don’t call him a rental.
New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow has been adamant all year that he won’t be trading his captain at this year’s trade deadline, and he doubled down on that stance during an interview with Newsday’s Steven Marcus on Wednesday.
“I’m not trading John, I’ve stated that,” Snow told Marcus. “I know I sound like a broken record but any conversations I have with John or his agent (Pat Brisson) remain private.”
“I think any team — I mean we’ve been through it as well — every team has free agents,” he said. “Every team has players they want to sign. We drafted John at 18 years old and think the world of him. We want him to retire an Islander. This is all part of a process that he earned under this collective bargaining agreement, to take his time and be thoughtful about what he wants to do for the rest of his hockey career.”
The Islanders are currently sitting just outside of the second wild-card spot in the East. (Their 58 points have them tied with the Blue Jackets but they’ve played one more game than Columbus.) That puts them in a precarious place in an especially important playoff race — and right in the middle of the some trade-deadline rumours should they approach Feb. 26 as buyers, especially considering how many assets they’ve got in their pockets right now.
“We have obviously two first-round picks, two second-round picks … We’re a team that’s right on the edge of getting in the playoffs and not being in the playoffs,” Snow explained.
“So, are we going to at this point in time, be giving first-round picks and high picks for rental players? I don’t think we’re in that position,” he said. “Just doesn’t make sense.”