The pressure is on the Islanders front office to lock up superstar John Tavares, who has 1 year left on his current deal. Tavares has found a lot of success with the Islanders, but the team has yet to make the next step during his tenure and make a deep playoff run. With rumors that Tavares is looking to sign with a team like the Toronto Maple Leafs, with a lot of young stars, fans have reason to be concerned. If Tavares leaves the Islanders, the team that seems to always be rebuilding will take major steps back, and they pretty much would have to start over if they lose the former number 1 overall pick.
But, can one really blame John Tavares if he signs elsewhere after the 2017-18 season? He’s been with the Islanders since 2009, and the team has won just 1 playoff series during that span. But, the blame can’t be put on him, as he does it all on the ice. During his tenure, the team has never had a stable goalie, and has been in search of that all star linemate to work alongside him.
To add to the team’s subpar personnel during his tenure, the franchise is also currently unsure of where the team’s home games will be played in the future. Rumors fly out that the Islanders and Barclays Center will eventually opt out of their deal. If that eventually happens, then where would the team play? A return to Nassau Coliseum, where majority of the fans want the team to return to? Or a place in Belmont, a rumor that continues to emerge? A last resort would be a place in Hartford, which would be tough for fans to see, especially with a bulk of the fanbase living on Long Island. Whether these rumors are true or not, they still have to be discouraging to Tavares, especially to pledge his allegiance to a team that couldn’t tell you where their home games would be played in 2019.
But, the Islanders did acquire Jordan Eberle in a trade this offseason with the hopes of him giving John Tavares the help he needs. On paper, the Islanders should have a very good team going into the 2017-18 season. With veteran goal scorers like Andrew Ladd and Jordan Eberle, and Anders Lee coming off of his best season, Tavares could have a decent supporting cast going into the season. Plus, young players like Anthony Beauvillier and Josh Ho-Sang showed the team a lot down the stretch last season.
Their personnel is their pitch to John Tavares that they have young talent, as well as veteran players who have had major success in the past. While there are many negatives to the franchise, for once their personnel seems decent, at least at the forward position. There certainly are still some question marks at goalie and defense, but on paper this team should make the playoffs. Plus, the team could still make some moves this offseason if the right player becomes available. But, is making the playoffs going to be enough to keep Tavares in an Islanders uniform? Only he knows what he wants. So, do fans have a lot to be concerned about? Absolutely, but keep in mind that they have a pretty deep roster. If this team shows they can win with consistency, Tavares could very well stay with the organization. For now, fans should certainly cherish having John Tavares for at least 1 more year because the reality is we do not know where he will be playing next season.
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