Islanders C John Tavares' contract extension is still an elephant in the room, but his teammates don't believe it will impact the team as he heads into the new season.
Several Islanders have been participating in informal skating at Northwell Health Ice Center, and many asked what they thought on Tavares' situation. They don't believe it will be a distraction if his contract isn't settled by the start of the season.
"Knowing how Johnny deals with things, his personality, I think that's what makes it a non-factor," LW Andrew Ladd told Newsday's Arthur Staple. "He's so good at handling, whether it's the questions or the talk that comes with it, I don't see it being an issue. I think we know more in here than everybody else on the outside, so we're comfortable with where it's at."
Tavares has chose to defer a contract extension at the moment due to the Islanders' need to find a new arena, and see what they do to help the team get back to the playoffs this season.
A long-time friend in teammate RW Cal Clutterbuck knows that the talk about Tavares will stay quiet if the Islanders start the new season off on the right foot.
"If we can take care of what we need to on the ice, as far a being successful, winning games, it's not something you worry about," Clutterbuck said. "It's only something to worry about if the team really doesn't do well at the start. I don't think that's going to be the case. We're going to be well prepared, we're going to be a good team from the start. We're going to be the same team we were the second half of last year, if not better than that. I don't think it's going to be a problem for us."
Like Tavares, LW Josh Bailey has not concerned himself with the rumors and speculation of his teammate's deal. It may be a topic of conversation outside the locker room, but it certainly isn't one for the team.
"It's really easy for us, it doesn't change anything," Bailey said. "He's got another eyar left on his deal, for some reason it seemed like some kind of time limit on it around July 1. It's something to talk about for everyone else and it changes nothing in our room."
The 26-year-old Tavares is set to earn $6 million in the last season of his six-year, $33 million deal he signed back in 2012. He notched 28 goals and 38 assists in 77 games for the Islanders last season