The Islanders are preparing their extension pitch for team captain John Tavares, reports Elliotte Friedman.
Tavares, 26, is eligible to sign a contract extension with the Isles on July 1.
He is about to enter the sixth and final season of the $33 million deal he signed prior to the 2012-13 season.
Friedman says Tavares' preference remains to stay with the Islanders, but points out that the position the Isles are in competitvely, their arena situation, and the hiring of Doug Weight are all factors.
If Tavares opts to test the open market, Friedman lists the Red Wings, Canadiens, Sharks, Lightning, and Maple Leafs as possible suitors.
Tavares had 28 goals and 38 assists in 77 games this season.
We've known for a while that the Tavares situation is front-and-center on this team's to-do list this offseason. And what they're able to accomplish in talks with John will affect how the organization moves forward headed into 2017-18 and beyond.
But the fact that Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin were scoping out Air Canada Centre this past week, as reported by Sportsnet's John Shannon, shows that ownership is serious about cementing the Islanders' future in the tristate area with a building of their own: a main issue that Tavares will undoubtedly want the inside scoop on before he signs on the dotted line.
So if ownership is able to convince Tavares that yes, the team's future is here in a world class facility actually meant to accommodate hockey, and that they'll pull out all the stops to give JT the support he needs to bring the Cup to that arena, I think -- in tandem with the team's strong corps of young talent -- that's a pretty provocative pitch. We'll find out whether Tavares agrees in a matter of months.