Islanders captain John Tavares said he's had "great open communication" with the team regarding a potential contrtact extension.
"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. "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."
Tavares is reportedly still not ready to commit to the Islanders, Art Staple of Newsday reported last month.
To that end, Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet noted:
"I've said a million times that I believe John Tavares's first choice is to stay with the Islanders. But, if he does decide to leave, why do I have visions of him taking less money to play in Tampa Bay?"
The 26-year-old Tavares notched 28 goals and 38 assists in 77 games for the Islanders last season. He is set to earn $6 million this coming season, after which he is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent.
The eight-year deal Connor McDavid signed with the Oilers is one of the factors delaying a resolution between the Islanders and Tavares, Staple recently reported.
Former Islander Matt Martin, now with the Maple Leafs, doesn't think the delay with Tavares gives any indication that he won't sign long-term with the Isles.
"I think Johnny is a pretty loyal guy," Martin told Newsday last month. "It's a tough decision. Obviously, this next contract is probably going to be where he essentially plays for the rest of his career and it's something he's got to think over and consider. I don't think that [just because] he didn't sign [a contract extension] on July 1 is any indication that he's not signing with the Islanders."