(I originally just included this in our Tavares Contract Encyclopedia, but since people were kinda talking about it, I figured I’d break it out into it’s own article so that everyone could not read it not once but twice.)
Hey, remember back in June when Mike Bossy said on Montreal sports radio that the Islanders should consider trading John Tavares to the Canadiens for Alex Galchenyuk, Mikhail Sergachev, a first round pick and a few buckets of Quebecois KFC? Sure you do. Don’t lie.
Well, he’s at it again, this time saying that not only were the Islanders indeed offered Galchenyuk in a trade by the Habs, but that Tavares, alarmingly, turned down an extension offer worth upwards of $84 million. Bossy also said that losing Tavares for nothing at the end of the season would set the Islanders back 10 years. No shit, Boss. But you’re supposed to be on our side, man.
Update: There was more to the Bossy segment, as noted by Eyes on Isles. Bossy’s comments weren’t quite what they were represented as, with one one of his on-air colleagues saying he had heard about not one but two extensions getting rejected. Bossy said that wasn’t the case and also defended Barclays Center a little to his co-hosts.
So, what’s really going on here? Apparently, not much, according to Arthur Staple, who not only shuts down that extension rumor but brings it all back to Belmont.
According to sources around #Isles and Tavares, he did not turn down $84 million. Sides have barely talked numbers.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) August 29, 2017
Everyone I've talked to maintains this is not about $. All about wanting to see how things progress with arena/team before committing.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) August 29, 2017
If/when Tavares sees what he wants to see from org, guessing the negotiations would be quick. JT has all the leverage there.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) August 29, 2017
Simple, right? Is it ever with this team? No.
The deadline for proposals for the Belmont property is September 28th. The time for the state to make a decision is... who the hell knows. The estimated time of constructing a new arena (assuming the Islanders’ plan even gets selected) is years and years from now. Meanwhile, the team and Barclays Center need to make a decision this coming January regarding a continuation or ending of their lease agreement, which brings its own expansive field of potential landmines.
I joked on Twitter that this was kind of a Field of Dreams scenario, but it’s more than that. Beyond building a... building, Tavares probably also wants to see what kind of players he’s going to be working with in the future, too.
I get that Tavares and Doug Weight and probably a few players are already sick of the distraction question, and being asked whether the captain’s contract status will affect the team’s play this season. While it might not be a distraction to him (calling Tavares “focused” is like calling water wet), it - and everything tiny detail surrounding it real or imagined - sure as hell is a distraction to literally everyone else.
Anybody - from Joe Hockey Fan to John Q. Sportswriter to Mike Goddamn Bossy can come up with a million reasons why Tavares could and should leave the Islanders. Everyday until he signs, there will be more. Having that decision tied to a new arena - something the Islanders have been trying to secure for half of my lifetime - doesn’t make things any easier than if it was just about what was on the ice or how much dough was involved.