Perhaps the biggest story in the NHL this season has been the constant “will he or won’t he” surrounding New York Islanders captain John Tavares. Set to hit unrestricted free-agency this upcoming offseason, Tavares has been the source of constant trade speculation the entire campaign, and it’s unlikely to subside until he’s either traded by Islanders GM Garth Snow, or until he signs a new contract with the club.
Until now however, Tavares has been pretty tight lipped about his current and future plans. When asked about the probability of him re-signing with the Islanders, Tavares has always been non-committal, but diplomatic, with his answers. In other words, he doesn’t want to show his cards. Maybe that’s why today’s report from Newsday Sports reporter Arthur Staple, where he manages to get Tavares to open up, is such a surprise.
Check it out:
Wow… that’ll make Islanders fans happy. Now, of course, there’s just the matter of a contract. Oh… and millions upon millions of dollars. Tavares’ six-year, $33 million contract expires this offseason and he’s in line to get a MASSIVE raise from the $5.5 million he’s earned annually each of the past six seasons. Many expect that he’ll push north of $10 million annually… do the Isles have the appetite for such a rich deal?
With wingers like Jordan Eberle and John Bailey finally breaking out and the Islanders firmly in a playoff position, is Tavares finally comfortable with the path that the Islanders are on? The hard luck franchise has yo-yo’ed up and down the standings the past several years. A new commitment from Tavares, a strong supporting case and a new building at Belmont Park could be just what the doctor ordered. Then again… maybe Tavares decides to test the market. What then? How do the Isles pick up the pieces then? Interesting times in Long Island, to be sure.
Breaking: Another door closes for Jagr
In one of the other big narratives around the NHL this season, it appears as though the Olympics will not be an option for future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr. Technically still under contract to the Calgary Flames, there was some sentiment out there that Jagr and the Flames may terminate the 45-year-old legend’s contract in time for him to join his native country for next month’s games. Not so, apparently.
Jagr unofficially retired from international play after the 2015 World Championships in Prague, saying at the time that he wants to dedicate himself to playing in the NHL.
With the Olympic option officially shut down and NHL options dwindling… is this finally it for the 45-year-old former superstar? TSN reporter and NHL insider Bob McKenzie indicates that Flames GM Brad Treliving is trying to find a fit for Jagr elsewhere in the NHL, but that nothing appears imminent. GMs are in a holding pattern of sort, waiting to see which domino will fall first on the NHL trade market. Jagr’s age, health and salary structure also doesn’t lend himself to an easy trade scenario.
Could this be it? What’s his next option? KHL? Czech league? Retirement? It’s been a long and winding road for Jaromir Jagr, what happens next though is anyone’s guess.
For the full Czech roster, check out the image below: