Are you sick of hearing about New York Islanders captain John Tavares and his pending free agency decision? Hang on, there are just a couple more days to go... The spotlight remains on Tavares these days as the most coveted free agent on the market has been meeting with several rival teams a few days before the opening of free agency on Sunday.
For the past few days, Tavares has been meeting with six different clubs to get a better idea of where he will sign for the 2018-19 season. The free agent superstar reportedly negotiated with the Islanders and the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday afternoon from his agent’s headquarters in Los Angeles. On Tuesday, Tavares met with representatives from the San Jose Sharks and Boston Bruins, and on Wednesday, a meeting with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Dallas Stars was on the agenda.
Tavares camp is now taking a step back to decompress and review what they learned over more than 12 hours of face-to-face meetings this week, however, TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie has just now reported that Tavares could begin cutting teams in the next few hours.
"Our understanding of the situation is that some of the teams that aren't getting him could find that out as early as this morning,” McKenzie told TSN Radio Montreal 690 early Friday. “So maybe we'll get a little clarification here.
“People wonder about Tampa or Boston, maybe Dallas. I don’t put much stock into it, but if you were trying to measure the consensus view of all the pundits, players and people around the league out there, the feeling is all along the Islanders were kind of the front-runner, but San Jose and Toronto, in particular, were the two teams that made presentations that, if he weren’t going to the Islanders, he could end up there. I would say Dallas was the next one that got a little bit more support.
“A lot of people say Toronto and San Jose. Some people said Toronto and Dallas. Boston and Tampa don’t seem to get mentioned as often and it’s obviously a lot more complicated for Tampa, but honestly, I have no idea. Maybe John Tavares will pull a rabbit out of his hat and say ‘Yeah, Tampa start clearing cap space because I’m coming.’ But with the Kucherov deal to sign, and so many other things, I’m not sure how they go about that.
“It will be fascinating. Hopefully we find out sooner rather than later. I’d hate for it to carry over to Sunday morning but we figure to know by Saturday. As I said, some teams may find out (today).”
When the meetings first started, David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period reported that there is a massive offer already on the table for the Islanders captain. The Islanders have made him an offer on Saturday, and once again, according to Pagnotta, the offer is believed to be an eight-year contract, worth $88 million.
If ever Tavares does not accept the Isles' current offer before the end of the day on Saturday, he can still sign a seven-year contract with them, or any team, on Sunday.