Islanders captain John Tavares is not in a rush to sign an extension with the team, he told Newsday's Art Staple on Wednesday.
"For me, there's really no rush," Tavares said. "I'm trying to determine things, let the process run its course, keep the lines of communication open, keep it all internal and it's been good so far … In terms of signing a new contract, there's a lot that goes into it. To really dive into all the details, get into all the conversations I've had with Garth [Snow], the team and Doug [Weight], I don't think it's productive to the situation and the negotiating. I prefer to keep it all internal, that's the best way to keep it all open, honest and healthy."
Tavares recently 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 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."
According to Staple, Tavares is waiting to see what happens with the Request For Proposals that were issued late last month regarding potential development 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."
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 reported last month.
Tavares, who added he was sad to see Travis Hamonic moved via trade, believes the Islanders are Stanley Cup contenders.
"We're right there. We've just got to find a way to get over the hump, figure out what it takes on a daily basis. For sure, I believe we're a contender."
Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter
This is about as much from Tavares as we've heard all summer long in relation to his contract situation with the Islanders and general manager Garth Snow.
Most of the lines so far have been regurgitated over and over, basically to members of the Canadian press, who ask the captain the same question every time he steps in front of their microphones.
Today, we heard for the first time Tavares specifically mention the arena situation and that leads one to believe that the concern is real for the Islanders captain -- even more than the current roster makeup or management structure.
Why can I see a situation where the RFP gets resolved quickly in favor of the Islanders moving to Belmont and the other parties who submitted bids screaming foul and attempting to tie the whole thing up in court? That just seems to fit the quirky, unorthodox aura that has been surrounding this franchise.
Either way, we are no closer to a resolution today than we were yesterday with fans still waiting in limbo for the organization's franchise player to put his pen to paper.