We finally have an update on the John Tavares front. According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post and David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period, Tavares has informed the New York Islanders that he will meet with five teams during the upcoming interview period, which begins on Sunday.
One of them will be the Vegas Golden Knights, per David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period.
Hockey insider Pierre LeBrun confirmed the news shortly after these initial reports broke, via Tavares’ agent Pat Brisson.
Steven Stamkos took advantage of this period two summers ago when he was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent, although he eventually ended up re-signing with the Tampa Bay Lightning before July 1st.
Now Tavares could do exactly what Stamkos did; visit teams, be wined and dined, run up their expenses and then eventually re-sign with the Islanders. The speculation throughout this season was that Tavares would eventually just sign an extension to remain in New York, but after a disappointing year there are now question marks about his future with the organization.
Whether he will actually leave the only franchise he has ever known is debatable, but his desire to at least hear what other teams have to offer is a clear indication that the possibility of leaving the Islanders has certainly crossed his mind.
Other teams who have been rumored to be interested in Tavares are the Toronto Maple Leafs, San Jose Sharks, Dallas Stars, Chicago Blackhawks, Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning and, of course, the New York Islanders.
After striking out on free agent forward Ilya Kovalchuk, it looks like George McPhee has his sights set on a much bigger prize. Tavares is going to be the top free agent on the market with John Carlson likely re-upping with the Washington Capitals. Vegas is going to have money to spend and could need that superstar-type player to get them over the hump.
Hockey’s second season is underway.