The New York Islanders' playoff hopes are fading, and fast, as they currently sit two spots out of the last place in the Eastern Conference Wild Card chase, four points away from the Columbus Blue Jackets who for now own the last place for the postseason. Since the start of captain John Tavares' tenure with the Isles, the team has made it to the playoffs only three times, and now it is a crucial time for New York to prove to their star player, who is set to hit free agency this summer, that they can be true contenders.
The speculation surrounding Tavares has been rampant despite the fact that there has never been any indication that he would leave the Islanders for one reason or another, but now another NHL analyst believes the Islanders could lose Tavares. Pierre McGuire has already stated that t he's not convinced Tavares will remain an Islanders for the long-term and now, more experts agree with him...
"You wanna sign him? Make the playoffs!" said former NHL goalie and TSN analyst Jamie McLennan. "Because I don't see any scenario where John Tavares is going to sign an eight-year deal, regardless of the blank cheque Garth Snow slides across the table, if they don't make the playoffs."
Then, McLellan revealed the biggest missing piece for the Isles when it comes to re-signing Tavares and it has more to do with the overall success of the team, and not just the current playoff situation:
"When I look at his whole body of work, yeah he's got some terrific players around him like Mathew Barzal, who's probably going to win the Calder this year... I just look at this whole organization, and the one thing they don't have is a starting goaltender that can give them 65+ games, so if I am John Tavares and his management group and team and say: who is going to play in net for those years - that is a key decision for me moving forward there.
"I don't see any scenario that John Tavares, if they don't make the playoffs, that he is going to sign there."
After McGuire made his claim earlier, he named three teams that could be potential suitors for Tavares, three teams that just about no one would have put anywhere near the top of the list of teams likely to acquire him.The names listed by Mcguire are truly shocking, he names the Montreal Canadiens, Buffalo Sabres and Detroit Red Wings all as potential suitors for Tavares, a move that would seem insane for a player trying to win a Stanley Cup in the short-term.
If another main issue is also having a starting goalie on the roster, only the Canadiens answer the call, but yet again, Carey Price has struggled all year and is now sidelined with concussions symptoms.
Many expected the Islanders to make a move at the deadline to improve their situation in between the pipes but nothing took place. GM Garth Snow once again failed to complete a major move at the deadline as it was reported that he denied to trade Brock Nelson on Monday. A few teams across the National Hockey League were looking to add a netminder during Monday's trade deadline, but the usual suspects, Carolina Hurricanes' Cam Ward, Buffalo Sabres' Robin Lehner and Arizona Coyotes' Antti Raanta remained with their respective team.