When there was finally a conclusion to the New York Islanders looking for a new home and completing a deal with Belmont Park, it was almost assumed that captain John Tavares was getting ready to sign an extension.
After all, many insiders had explained that Tavares was looking to see where the Isles would play in the future before making an important decision on his. However, until he puts pen to paper on a contract extension, it is believed the 27-year-old might be on the move.
NHL insider Darren Dreger took the microphone on TSN radio yesterday to talk about the possibility that Tavares might look to sign somewhere in Canada. Of course, the Toronto Maple Leafs were first mentioned as a plausible option.
"I mean, Leafs fans fall in love with certain players. Auston Matthews isn’t going anywhere. But are we sure that Nazem Kadri is a lock moving forward. Bozak isn’t going to come back. Maybe Tavares would be okay being No. 2 center for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Kadri goes to No. 3.
"It seems pretty obvious to most of us, doesn’t it. When you have a player of that magnitude potentially available as a free agent, you’d be foolish not to consider it.
“I mean, it’s highly, highly unlikely. I get that. But you’re talking about a second franchise player. So I think you have to at least kick tires and see if there’s any interest whatsoever."
Dreger however believes the slam dunk might be in Montreal with the Canadiens for the Isles captain.
“I don’t know why I feel this way because Tavares has never said this to me directly. I’ve never heard this from Brisson or anyone deeply associated with him. I think that Tavares would like to play for the Montreal Canadiens.”
“Not saying that he wouldn’t like playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs,” added Dreger. “People say, ‘You’re crazy. Why would he want to go into Montreal, in a hotbed market like that, and when things don’t go the way…’
“Well, players don’t think that way, do they?”
“Montreal makes a lot of sense because of the need and the fact that they’re going to have the space.”
A trade might be in the cards for Tavares, if the Islanders cannot re-sign him prior to the trade deadline. But while many insiders, including Drreger, believe Tavares will remain an Islander, the speculation will continue until he signs a deal.