Mankiewich: If The Islanders Are Not Careful, The Unthinkable May Come True

OK, folks, let’s play that fun-filled game for the whole family…

What’s The Worst That Could Happen?

Testaverde blowing an Achilles in Week 1?

Jeter breaking his leg in the ALCS?

Mo’s throwing error in Game 7 in ’01?

Now that I have everybody breaking out the doom-and-gloom brooms, picture this if you’re an Islander fan.

John Tavares as a New York Ranger.

Can it happen? Follow along. Everyone knows one of the biggest challenges Islanders management has faced since Matt Martin was traded away has been to find line mates for their star center. Tavares has done the politically correct thing, saying to anyone listening that he wants to be an Islander for life. So has Islanders management. Which leads to the next question: Why haven’t they been able to sign him to an extension?

He does have one year left on his current contract, and could have rectified that problem by now but neither he nor the Islanders front office seems to be any hurry. It’s not for lack of communication — player and management talk all the time. It seems that neither is willing to force things in any direction given some uncertainties with the team, like where they will be playing in the coming years. The relationship between the Isles and Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment, owners of Barclays Center, is well known to be strained, and the slushy ice at Barclays has been blamed for Tavares’ hamstring tear last season.

So the Islanders’ side of things is on indefinite hold. The Rangers, on the other hand, have one big contract that will be off the books right when Tavares would become available. They’ll need it, too, as Hart Trophy winner Connor McDavid’s new deal is believed to pay him $13.25 million per year on average. Tavares could command close to that if he turns in a solid walk year. That wouldn’t be the sole deciding factor, but the Rangers have line mates who could hold their own with the star center.

Imagine Tavares centering a line with Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello. Back down to earth now, because one thing that has haunted the Rangers in recent years has been crippling big contracts going to veteran stars like Nash. Will the Rangers (or the Islanders for that matter) commit such a large hunk of cap room for one player?

It does make you think, though, doesn’t it?

About the Author

Get connected with us on Social Media