This season marks the last of the current contract for Tavares that pays him $5.5 million per season. Tavares has seen the massive contracts handed out to players like Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid and understands he may be able to double his annual pay with a new deal. He also seems willing to wait until there is further clarity on where the team will be playing in the future, a situation that may not become clear before he reaches free agency next July. If Tavares and the Islanders aren't able to come to an agreement on a contract extension before the NHL trade deadline, the team may be forced to move Tavares for as much as it can get via a trade rather than risk he leaves, or else the Isles might receive nothing in return.
Tavares is entering the last season of a six-year $33 million contract and will be due for a substantial raise. If the Isles feel they can't sign him to a long term contract then they may feel that it is in the best interest of the organization to trade him to a team that will sign him.
Tavares hasn't given any indications that he doesn't want to play for the Islanders, so speculation is that his camp is waiting to see whether GM Garth Snow makes any further moves to improve the quality of the team around him, not to mention where the team is likely to be playing in the future. He should command a major contract after seeing Connor McDavid sign for north of $12 million a season. Tavares holds all the cards because if the Islanders don't want to pay him, just about any other team in the NHL will, as top-line centers just don't grow on trees.
Tavares had surgery on his hand in April, Arthur Staple of Newsday reports.
Tavares is fully expected to be ready for the start of the regular season. Apparently he was dealing with a hand issue for much of this season but was able to play through it. Tavares had 28 goals and 66 points despite the injury. This will be an eventful offseason for Tavares as he will let the team know at some point before the NHL Draft whether or not he expects to sign a long-term contract. If not, the Islanders could look to trade him away before the draft.
Tavares (lower body) told reporters he was expected to miss 3-to-5 weeks, Brian Compton of NHL.com reports.
Based on that time frame, Tavares likely would have missed most of the Isles' opening-round series if they had made the playoffs. Instead, the center will focus on getting ready for the 2017-18 campaign and will avoid returning to action too soon. The 26-year-old will likely be the subject of contract rumors and discussions as well this offseason as he heads into the final year of his deal with New York.