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Lace ’em up. Time for the Morning Skate.
We’re deep into the NHL offseason without a new contract (or talks of any kind) for Islanders captain John Tavares. Looming over that situation is the Barclays Center issue. They did relatively little as free agency opened.
Everything is fluid in Brooklyn — especially the future of the franchise after next summer.
But I don’t like dwelling on negative what-ifs. We’ll dive further into this as the summer drags on, but for now, here are a few positives Islanders fans should repeat to themselves whenever Tavares Dread™ sets in.
- You’re loaded with young, talented forwards. Josh Ho-Sang looks ready to take the NHL by storm next season. Anthony Beauvillier weathered his rookie season as a teenager with aplomb. Mathew Barzal might be a Calder Trophy favorite next season. Michael Dal Colle is finally showing signs he’s ready to take the next step. If the Islanders lose Tavares next summer, consider it more room for those kids to grow.
- The Travis Hamonic trade gave your team a bounty of future assets. Calgary’s first two picks in 2018 belong to New York now. Another of the Flames’ second-rounders (either in ’19 or ’20) belong to them, depending on if (when?) they miss the playoffs in 2019. (A reasonable possibility, if we’re being honest.) High picks mean high value, and GM Garth Snow can turn those into a trade for a top center if Tavares leaves. Or he can keep them and build the team the way he should’ve to keep Tavares in the first place. A pillow and a soft place.
- Keeping your top players seems like a given these days. Anze Kopitar. Jamie Benn. Connor McDavid. Steven Stamkos. Whereas the NBA watches star players leave every year, it seems like NHL teams have kept their one big star fairly consistently lately. Even if Tavares’ contract drags out through next season, don’t abandon hope until it’s over.
Besides, what if they trade for Matt Duchene?
We tried to answer that this morning. At least eight teams have been linked consistently to him since January. Not many are left.