John Tavares hasn't made up his mind on where his future lies, but if he is to leave the Islanders this offseason, it may be by way of sign and trade, according to TSN's Pierre LeBrun.
Tavares, 27, is a free agent after the season ends but it's possible that the Islanders would be able to get some sort of return if they lose their captain. Tavares has remained tight-lipped about his future.
This season, Tavares is tied for the team lead in points with 69 (31 G, 38 A). He's spent his nine-year career with the Islanders and has 606 points in 656 games played.
The Islanders have slipped to last place in the Metropolitan Division, as their playoff hopes on a once-promising season are bleak. They trail the second wild-card place by nine points with 13 games remaining.
Andrew Battifarano, SNY: As the free-agent period nears, there will surely be plenty of rumors like this.
For the past year and a half, it feels like there's some new speculation each week and what team Tavares will play with after his tenure with the Islanders ends.
As Lebrun notes, a sign-and-trade has never happened in the salary cap era in the NHL. However, if the Islanders know Tavares wants out, this could be their best option in terms of shouldering the burden.
A move like this could still net the Islanders some prospects and/or draft picks, which is better than losing him on the open market for nothing. However unlikely a move like this would be, it's intriguing to think about nonetheless.
With the Islanders continuing their slide in the standings, and next year setting up to be a lot of discussion about where the Islanders split time between Brooklyn and Nassau County, it feels more inevitable that the Islanders captain might choose to walk.