John Tavares is likely to let the New York Islanders know if he will re-sign with them on Friday, The Athletic reported Thursday.
Tavares is back in New York after visiting with six teams, including the Islanders, this week in Los Angeles, the website said. He has until midnight ET Saturday to sign an eight-year contract with the Islanders, but because of the complexities of such a contract it is believed the center will tell them his intention beforehand.
Tavares can only sign an eight-year contract with the Islanders, and only before becoming an unrestricted free agent. After that, the maximum contract the 27-year-old could sign would be seven years with any team.
The Islanders, Boston Bruins, Dallas Stars, San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs each made a presentation to Tavares during the NHL interview period that began Sunday. The report said the Sharks and Maple Leafs are the leading contenders, with the Islanders, to sign him.
Tavares, selected No. 1 in the 2009 NHL Draft, had 84 points (37 goals, 47 assists) this season for the Islanders, who missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second straight season. He has led the Islanders in scoring in seven of his nine NHL seasons and has finished no lower than second.
Tavares has 621 points (272 goals, 349 assists) in 669 NHL games, fifth in Islanders history but first among players who weren’t part of their four consecutive Stanley Cup-winning teams from 1980-83. He has been captain since the start of the 2013-14 season and was a finalist for the Hart Trophy in 2013 and 2015.
“This is obviously where I hope to be. I’ve always stated that,” Tavares said April 9, two days after the Islanders’ season ended. “But obviously, I have some time to think about my situation and go from there.
“I’ve loved it here. The people have really embraced me, the team, the organization. It’s been first class since I’ve gotten here. There’s obviously some great talent and some great things ahead. Definitely a lot of positives. I’ll obviously have to take some time and figure out what I want to do and go from there.”