The John Tavares sweepstakes are heating up as July 1 approaches, and Tavares has decided that he will at least test the market before deciding.
The New York Islanders were having an amazing last few weeks. They got a brand new general manager in Lou Lamoriello and a hall of fame caliber coach in Barry Trotz, and had a spectacular draft to fortify their future.
However it wasn’t enough to convince their superstar free agent John Tavares that they are they best choice for him, and now he wants to see what else could be out there.
First reported by David Pagnotta and confirmed by other sources, John Tavares’s agent Pat Brisson confirmed that Tavares will use the UFA speaking period starting on June 25 to chat with five teams not named the New York Islanders.
Before we all lose our minds, remember that this does not mean that Tavares is not coming back to the Islanders at all. All it means is that he is taking advantage of the UFA speaking period to chat with other teams and see what’s available to him once July 1 rolls around. In all fairness, the most likely option is the Islanders are able to keep Tavares
About the five teams — it’s entirely speculation or educated guesses for the most part at this point, but there are some teams that have been confirmed or strongly believed to be speaking with Tavares.
The Vegas Golden Knights are indeed a team that Tavares will speak to according once again to Pagnotta on Twitter. The Dallas Stars, according to Sean Shaprio, are also one of the confirmed teams at this time.
Other teams based on prior speculation we can feel comfortable about being in the mix are Tavares’ hometown team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the San Jose Sharks, who recently cleared cap space to offer him a fair contract. The New York Rangers, St.Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings are the only teams that can be 100 percent ruled out of the Tavares sweepstakes.
It’s been quite a long time that a superstar like Tavares has left the team that drafted him while in the midst of his prime. The last time a player of superstar status was this close was Steven Stamkos two years ago. Though it was a different situation, he took almost the same path by talking with other teams during the allotted period and eventually staying with the Tampa Bay Lightning before free agency.
This is certainly not an ideal situation for the Islanders, but it’s also not the end of the world quite yet. It would almost be a waste for Tavares to get this far and not at least test the market. It’s also a great negotiation tactic for Tavares with the Islanders to show them that he’s serious about leaving and they better pay up to keep him. The rumors have been circulating ever since last summer, and it’s all about to come to an end in the next eight days.