Aug
01

Let’s talk about John Tavares

August 1, 2017, by

John Tavares is 11th among active players in points per game

As the summer drags on, the attention of the hockey world is beginning to shift to the coming season and beyond.

One storyline that is already generating buzz and will only continue to build momentum is the pending free agency of John Tavares.

For his part, Tavares has repeatedly expressed his desire to remain an Islander. That said – the reasons he might start seriously thinking about leaving the Islanders are obvious.

The club still does not have a permanent home arena, an issue that has dogged the franchise for Tavares’ entire career and appears unlikely to be resolved anytime soon. On the ice, the Isles appear to be only marginally closer to winning it all than they were several years ago. Tavares will surely be eager to see how Jordan Eberle and the team’s other talented young forwards fit this season, but if the Islanders are out of the playoff mix early, Tavares might really start to reconsider if this is where he wants to play out his best years. In other words, the longer this drags out without Tavares inking an extension, the more the pandemonium will build.

Obviously Tavares would be among the most coveted free agents of all time should he decide to test the market next July 1. As an elite 27-year-old in his prime, Tavares isn’t a complimentary piece a few contenders would hope to add – he’s a franchise building block that would reshape the trajectory of any team he joined.

The chances that Tavares would even consider playing for the Blueshirts are almost non-existent. But that almost is the key – for if there’s even a prayer a superstar player like this becomes available and open to unconventional options, then every team in the league will be willing to move mountains to land him.

Tavares will command a deal similar to the one just signed by Connor McDavid – a signing bonus heavy, maximum seven-year term worth over $12 million annually.

Even with Rick Nash’s $7.8 million cap hit coming off the books, the new deals for RFAs J.T. Miller, Kevin Hayes, Jimmy Vesey and Brady Skjei would make things complicated for New York. But again, Tavares is the rare talent that changes an organization’s game plan. If getting him somehow became realistic, then the Blueshirts would find a way to get it done and happily sacrifice key players to create the necessary funds.

The case for Tavares to renege on his loyalty and give the Rangers a second thought is that it would allow him to maintain his current home and join a Cup contender. But most of the league’s best teams would also give chase, so that part of the argument doesn’t hold much weight. If Tavares were to depart, it would be pretty brazen of him to join his club’s biggest rival in the same city. Imagine if the tables were turned and Henrik Lundqvist latched on with the Islanders? That’s probably not the wrath Tavares wants to face on a daily basis.

So yes, this is mostly an August pipe dream with little else happening in Ranger Land. But until Tavares commits to the Islanders, fans and management alike around the league will allow themselves to consider the ultimate “what if?” scenario of the 2017-2018 campaign.

30 comments

  1. Brett says:

    I don’t think there is any doubt that the team would trade a player like Kevin Hayes (and his potential cap space via the extension) to sign a player like Tavares. That being said, having a $10M+ cap hit on the books along with Lundqvist’s makes building a team very difficult. Seems almost impossible actually.

    • supermaz says:

      I’d trade not only Hayes, but Miller and Vesey to make room for Tavares.

      • Mancunian Candidate says:

        Not the best way to build a team, swapping 3 solid players for a slow, defensively indifferent “star”. Not to mention the 3 Rangers’ production exceeded Tavares’ production last year. Tavares barely outperformed JT Miller alone….

        • Rich S says:

          Well put MC…..but he is a legit star……but not for 3 young, improving players with 10 year careers ahead of them……
          If I were the Islanders I would jump at that trade!
          Al Dugan, yes declining numbers….but the islanders lost okposo, franz neilson and martin last year so it was a good bet they would suffer greatly as a team and as individuals…..
          All in all A BIG NO !!!!!!!!!!

  2. Al Dugan says:

    What exactly have you guys been drinking?

    Did any of you look at his DECLINING numbers? If you really think he’s worth north of 10 million a year, I would say let the Islanders pay him that, and be hamstrung by the deal for the foreseeable future.

    As Branch Rickey once said to Ralph Kiner when he was looking for a big raise, “I can finish last with you, and I can finish last without you.”

    Look at the LAK’s, do you think they are happy paying Kopitar right now?

    • Mancunian Candidate says:

      Couldn’t agree more. Tavares’ game is already slipping, he’s had serious knee injuries in the past. He’s also terrible defensively and will be foolishly expensive. Hard pass.

      • mike a says:

        totally disagree. people said the same thing about ovechkin after 2011. tavares is only 26 hes just been playing on a dismal islanders team.

  3. upstatetom says:

    i have a huge feeling about filip chytil, need to wait and watch.

  4. 43 says:

    He’s not signing here.

  5. jason hart (@JayT5984) says:

    Why would he go to the Rangers? He does want to win the cup eventually

    • Mancunian Candidate says:

      Those 3 playoff appearances Tavares’ team has had during his 8-year career sure were high-impact, though. This one time? His team won one whole round…this one time….

      • John B says:

        Yet despite playing roughly half the number of playoff games than either JT Miller or Kevin Hayes, John Tavares has managed to score almost double the amount of points than Hayes, 6 points more than Miller and 110% more goals than JT Miller.

        All despite never playing in more than 11 playoff games in a year.

        • Mancunian Candidate says:

          Yeah, and Miller/Hayes put up 105 points while man-beast Tavares had a decent 66-point season. For that you give an aging player $10 million a year? I sure don’t.

          • John B says:

            Um, ok?

            John Tavares and Anders Lee put up 122 points combined.

            John Tavares and Josh Bailey put up 118 points combined.

            As a line, which they were on the ice together roughly 64% of the time last year they put up 174 points.

            Tavares had an increasing P/60 as the season went on. Miller and Hayes went in the opposite direction. From Oct to Jan 11 (rough 1/2 mark) Tavares P/60 of 2.65, Miller: 2.67, Hayes: 2.62. From Jan 12 to season end- Tavares P/60 of 3.00, Miller: 2.33, Hayes: 1.97.

            Strawman argument much? You called into question the lack of John Tavares TEAM only making the playoffs 3 times and insinuated that was a reflection upon him as a player. I countered that by showing that despite the Rangers having a better TEAM around Miller and Hayes, John Tavares has carried his team in the playoffs.

            • Mancunian Candidate says:

              66 points = $10 million AAV or higher for a long term contract? No thanks. Enjoy your Islander fandom!

            • Mancunian Candidate says:

              Not a straw man argument at all. Tavares isn’t the player you claim he is, simple as that. Let him be some other team’s albatross contract. He’s never beaten Crosby or Ovechkin in the playoffs, so right now arguably he’s a less successful player than a guy like Derek Stepan.

  6. John B says:

    While it’s nice to dream. John Tavares is not coming to the New York Rangers.

    IF the Islanders are unable to lock him up long term, he’ll be dealt to a team where he’ll resign in a sign and trade situation. The Islanders will not allow a player of his caliber to leave and receive no assets in return. Nor will the NHL allow that to happen. Allowing the Islanders to lose John Tavares for nothing would not be in the best interest of the League marketing wise, and would cause the Islanders to lose too much revenue into the NHL coffers.

    Even Mike Milbury wouldn’t be that dumb of a GM. And while Garth Snow is bad, there are enough hockey people around there that will prevent that situation from occurring.

  7. Chris F says:

    $12 million? For Tavares?

    Did I miss something?

  8. Mikeyyy says:

    Oft injured, slow foot speed , declining numbers, not physical at all.

    Pass.

    • Joe says:

      There isn’t a team in the league that would pass on Tavares if he came a knockin’…

  9. Peter says:

    Tavares is a fine if not perfect player. He is not in Connor McDavid’s universe however. McDavid only turned 20 and amassed 100 points in his first full season in the NHL. Tavares is good. McDavid is other worldly. Tavares should not command McDavid numbers.

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      This is exactly right. Not a $12M/year player and if he finds himself signing that deal somewhere I hope it’s not with the Rangers.

      Excellent player, but not franchise altering as the post states – what have the Islanders accomplished in his time there? The McDavid comparison for contract purposes is not fair to either player. They just aren’t on the same planet.

      It’s unlikely that any team that signs Tavares for $12M is winning a cup.

    • Joe says:

      Two players who the Rangers are not qualified to sign until they are well past their prime…ie Lafleur, Dionne, Gretzky, etc…

  10. Rich S says:

    From the comments I read I notice several things…….
    First…… The fans who comment here are very smart and analyze the possibility very objectively…….
    Secondly…..Most feel he is nowhere near the conner mcdavid level and not worth 12 million a year ……
    Thirdly…..Impossible to predict his impact here since he did play on lousy Isle teams…and he is only 26…….and he looks to me to be top 10 player…but is slow and declining numbers……
    My opinion which is worth nothing is that we have been down this road before and I say PASS ON THE GUY and continue building a solid, depth-4 line team with young , fast, talented aggressive, physical, improving players………

    • Chris F says:

      I think he’d be a wonderful addition to our group of forwards. Definitely, in a vacuum, would love to have him.

      But not at $12 million. Not at $10 million. Not at $8 million.

      • AWDS says:

        …. you wouldn’t want Tavares on the team for an $8 million cap hit?

        Are you guys all nuts?

        Borderline elite 1C’s don’t come to market every year, you know…

    • Al Dugan says:

      Actually, he’ll be 27 when the season starts. 28 when the contract kicks in. Let someone (hopefully the Isles) overpay,

  11. Leetchie Nut says:

    Of course he would. No relo necessary, and the chance to star on B’way instead of off-B’way. And NYR sure as heck could use a true #1 C like him. No question.

  12. idesof says:

    He is not a Ranger and will never be a Ranger who is proud of the crest.Enough with the signing of names. Stay with J. Gortons program, unless a Messier type leader emerges. Even with Mess it took 3 full years. Let John become someone elses’ heartbreak, we’ve had enough of them.

  13. Richter1994 says:

    Everyone has a better chance of winning the $1B Powerball, by themselves, in Scranton, PA, on an even numbered day that has a 3/8s moon that night, than Tavares signing with anyone other than the Isles.