Islanders GM Garth Snow said he will not trade captain and leading scorer John Tavares, via Pierre LeBrun of TSN.
Currently, the Islanders are struggling to pick up points. They remain one point off the final wildcard place, though have played two more games than the two teams ahead of them. As such, questions have begun to swirl about the future of Tavares.
LeBrun reported that he asked Snow if the team would trade Tavares before the deadline. Snow's response: "I am not trading John Tavares."
Tavares, 27, is sixth in the NHL in points with 57. He has 26 goals and 31 assists, and is a plus-one. Thanks to Tavares and others, the team hasn't struggled to score over the season. The problem is a leaky defense that has allowed an NHL-worst 189 goals.
The Isles captain is playing out the last season of his six-year $33 million contract. If no agreement is reached between Tavares and the team by July 1, he will be an unrestricted free agent. The Islanders have attempted to open negotiations after last season but Tavares and his representitives declined.
"I hope to stay in Long Island," Tavares told Newsday's Arthur Staple. "There's a lot of positive things going forward with the organization and the team here. I haven't thought about being anywhere else but with the Islanders."
Head coach Doug Weight said Tavares is well within his right to wait until the end of the season before making a decision.
"I feel good about it," Weight told Staple. "We know the situation we're in with John. I trust John to his word. I believe he wants to be here. He's earned the right, whether it's free agency or waiting to sign a contract, he's earned the right to check off all the boxes."