Multiple sources are reporting today that New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight has elected to move superstar captain and pending unrestricted free-agent John Tavares from his natural center position to a spot on the wing, alongside rookie phenom Matthew Barzal and Jordan Eberle.
Interesting indeed. Is this just a sign of desperation from the Islanders? After all, the team has just about a 2% mathematical chance of qualifying for the playoffs… could this just be Weight making change simply for the sake of change?
Regardless, several analysts and fans seem to feel that this could be a fatal move for the team in regards to retaining their superstar captain long-term.
Sportsnet insider Nick Kypreos first reported on the potential for friction between the two sides last night during the Saturday Headlines segment of CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada broadcast.
“A lot of eyebrows being raised in terms of Tavares being moved out of his natural position at center, to moving to the wing with Barzal tomorrow night in Carolina,” said Kypreos.
“I can also tell you that there’s a feeling that the Islanders did Tavares no favors at deadline in terms of getting him the necessary players to push for the playoffs,” he continued.
And here’s the kicker:
“It almost feels like things are starting to feel like this thing is snowballing a bit away for Tavares and the Islanders.”
Ouch. If you’re an Islanders fan, the worst potential scenario may be about to unfold. Obviously the Islanders retained Tavares in an effort to qualify for the playoffs and then re-sign him to a long-term deal. Now, the playoffs look like a pipe dream and the coaching staff is messing with Tavares’ hold on the top center position? What a mess…
If you’re Tavares and you’ve got over a dozen other teams out there waiting to write you a blank check… why on earth would you re-sign with the Islanders? With just 11 games left on the Islanders regular season scheduled, it'll be interesting to see how the Islanders treat the Tavares situation. No doubt the superstar captain will have a press microphone in front of his face after each and every game. The Tavares situation has officially reached the tipping point in Brooklyn, NY.