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Islanders News: Free agency opens with Islanders missing one Tavares

John Tavares is gone...isn’t he?

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New York Yankees v New York Mets
Didn’t sign with them either.
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

I’ve officially reached my limit. I’ve spilled more words and thoughts on the John Tavares Situation (okay, not as many as Dan) and I can’t do anymore, beyond the obligatory farewells once the deed is finally done.

The franchise center dragged out his “maybe I’ll sign with the Islanders, but you know maybe I won’t” situation past the eight-year extension deadline — as is his right, and he earned that, and thanks for the memories and the absolute class and the shootouts and OT backchecks (heh), etc. — but for me it’s time to move on, even if somehow the Isles are still in contention for his services. For me it’s time to move off DEFCON: TAVARESWATCH.

July 1 is here and the Islanders’ new management has to get on with the business of (re)building this team without* him. Contracts can start being registered at noon.

(*We think. Maybe not. Who knows? But probably, yeah.)

If somehow the situation is not a post-Islanders one, and he’s waived the right to that eighth year in exchange for a bidding war or more time to deliberate or whatever, including perhaps a return to the Island, great. But I can’t focus on The Wait anymore.

There’s already a ton of free agent movement with not a whole lot of attractive names (so: to the trade market we go), and suddenly it looks like the Isles must now add top-six center to their key holes to fill. I would say that the Islanders are already well behind thanks to the Tavares distraction, but that’s likely not the case, assuming the usual Lou Lamoriello cone of silence has simply kept us in the dark on what other trade talks and negotiations listening with free agents has already taken place.

So here we are. July 1, 2018. Massive day in the history of the franchise, but also just plain a significant day in the planning for 2018-19 and beyond.

On with it, then.

Islanders Reading, Tavares-ish

  • If you want to relive our agony from yesterday bit by bit, here’s thread #1 (the morning bits), and here’s thread #2 (with musings about what, perhaps, is taking so long).
  • The killer summation, among many good ones: “Tavares has stated all season he hoped it would work out with the Islanders and he did ask former general manager Garth Snow not to deal him away prior to the Feb. 26 trade deadline. That generated optimism within the Islanders’ organization that Tavares truly wanted to stay.” [Gross in Newsday]
  • “The sad part is, it was unnecessary tension and avoidable tension. Each side stumbled their way into the sticky situation.” [Herrmann in Newsday]

The replies to this Staple tweet featured some fun ones, from many among us. (“JVR Watch!” “Comeau Watch!”)

Islanders Reading, the Rest of the Business

Meanwhile, prospect mini camp closed. Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz were at the final (closed) scrimmage but not made available to media.

  • Some poor sap had to post updates on prospects and from scrimmage all day for the Isles Twitter account. Good updates, but each one is met with fury over Tavares. [@NYIslanders]
  • Bode Wilde? Another promising prospect with a chip on his shoulder thanks to falling in the draft. [Newsday]
  • Noah Dobson reflected on his junior career so far. [Isles]
  • Not just because of Lou, lots of Providence defensemen hooking up in mini camp. [CT Post]
  • Speaking of Bridgeport: A run down of all the AHL teams and key free agents. [Around the A]
  • Departures: Chimera trade return Chris Wagner will sign with the Bruins for two years, $1.25 million. Apparently the Isles were “interested.”
  • Now we’ll call it nine teams interested in Calvin de Haan.

Free Agency

Free Agency rumblings, according to reports linked below (things can be announced/registered starting at noon):

  • James van Riemsdyk is chasing a five-year deal, with the Sabres and Coyotes in hot contention, but no one in the lead as of early evening, except maybe the Flyers.
  • Ryan Reaves had bids from several teams and decided to stay in Las Vegas for two years at $2.775 million per year. Good for him, wildly expensive for the Golden Knights.
  • Derek Ryan, who the Leafs were looking at as a backup to Tavares, is expected to go to Calgary on a three-year deal. [Flames Nation]
  • Look for Joanathan Bernier to reach a three-year deal with the Red Wings today.
  • The Jets unloaded Steve Mason and Joel Armia with a couple of draft picks to the Canadiens to clear salary, presumably to be able to re-sign Paul Stastny. [TSN | NBC Sports]
  • The Canadiens, in turn, will buy out Mason.
  • Minnesota will buy out Tyler Ennis.
  • Jaroslav Halak is expected to sign a multi-year deal with someone, options narrowed to two teams.
  • I’m among those types who instantly worry how the back end of a big contract is going to look absurd for the return given at that time (even Tavares, quite probably), but it’s important to remember it’s the cost of doing business. As in, Drew Doughty: “There’s no way it’s going to be a value deal seven years from now, but that’s the price you pay in the NHL. You have no choice.” [The Athletic]