John Tavares has not ruled out re-signing with the Islanders before the season ends, the captain said Monday at Northwell Health Ice Center. He added that his decision to remain will not hinge on the team making the playoffs. The Islanders made good on their word not to deal Tavares, a pending free agent, before the NHL trade deadline of 3 p.m. Monday. The next step is up to Tavares, who can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Asked if he will decline to re-sign before the conclusion of this season, Tavares said, “I wouldn’t say it’s a foregone conclusion. There’s no question my focus mostly right now is to help the team get to the playoffs. And obviously, we’re right in the thick of things.” The Islanders are four points behind the Blue Jackets for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference, and Tavares was asked if failing to reach the playoffs would trigger his departure. “No. No,” he said. “Things happen and change so quickly with the standings and how tight it is for us and where we stand right now. I’m never going to close the door on anything, but at the same time, the priority is to help this team get to the playoffs . . . Whether anything [contract-wise] happens between now and then, we’ll see.” Teammate Josh Bailey, another potential free agent, recently agreed to a six-year, $30-million deal.
John Tavares says he hasn’t ruled out re-signing during season
Newsday | Feb 27