Though reports have said otherwise, Islanders C John Tavares did not turn down a $84 million extension, per Newsday's Arthur Staple.
The two sides have actually yet to talk about the numbers side of Tavares extension. Instead, Staple is reporting that Tavares wants to see how everything progresses with the Islanders organization as a whole.
Specifically, Tavares is waiting to see what happens with the Request For Proposals that were issued in July regarding a possible development of a new arena at Belmont Park.
"The possibility with Belmont and that RFP coming out, there's great potential there," Tavares said. "We'll see where it goes. A lot of those things are out of my hands. Some things I don't try to worry about them too, too much. I'm just a hockey player. I try to be as best prepared as I can be. It's a big decision obviously because it's eight years of my career, really entering into my prime years and a great opportunity for myself to achieve what I set out to achieve when I was a kid, making it to the NHL, wanting to win a Stanley Cup and wanting to do that with the Islanders."
Tavares is in no rush to complete a deal as he said he is still getting ready for the season.
"It's obviously a great place to play, I've enjoyed my time being an Islander and I want that experience to continue," Tavares told TSN at the time. "For me, I just want to get ready for the upcoming season and work on being the best player I can be for the Islanders."
The 26-year-old is set to earn $6 million this coming season, after which he is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent. He notched 28 goals and 38 assists in 77 games for the Islanders last season.
Staple also says that he thinks negotiations will go quickly if/when John wants to start up talks, because JT has all the leverage. But what that magic element that gets Tavares to the negotiating table will be is the million dollar question.
The Isles have obviously made organizational progress. They brought in Tavares' close friend, Jordan Eberle, and presumably have either entered a bid, or will do so in the next month, on the Belmont RFP. They've acquired future assets that they can either use to bolster their future or as trade chips. Nothing is certain, but the future does look bright for the Islanders, at least in my eyes. But it only matters if JT sees it that way.
The state is going to take its time on deciding the RFP (Newsday's Randi Marshall says likely anywhere from four-to-six months), and the Isles will probably have to put in a few good months with their tweaked roster before Tavares feels like things are solid in the personnel department. So this is going to be a story for a while. Settle in, folks.