UPDATE: As of July 1, John Tavares has signed a 7-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Ahead of what’s shaping up to be a busy summer in the NHL, longtime New York Islanders superstar John Tavares is unquestionably the biggest fish in the free-agent pond. Needless to say, there won’t be any shortage of suitors for the veteran center when the league’s free-agent period begins on July 1.
The Islanders are +125 favorites to re-sign John Tavares.
According to Sportsbook, the Islanders are the favorites to retain Tavares. New York has the best odds to sign the Mississauga, Ontario native with a price of +125, with the San Jose Sharks (+275), Toronto Maple Leafs (+500), Boston Bruins (+700), Dallas Stars (+800) and Tampa Bay Lightning (+850) also expected to be major players in the sweepstakes. The Vegas Golden Knights (+1000), New York Rangers (+2500), Vancouver Canucks (+3300), St. Louis Blues (+4000) and Montreal Canadiens (+4000) are further down the list.
Will Tavares be on the move?
Tavares, who’s accumulated 621 points (272 goals, 349 assists) in his nine-year tenure on Long Island, has become the face of the franchise for New York. The Islanders haven’t done a great job of surrounding him with much of a supporting cast in that span, however, as the club has three postseason appearances since he arrived, including only one playoff series triumph. Fresh off a 35-37-10 campaign that saw them finish outside the playoff picture, it would be understandable if Tavares is interested in a change of scenery.
But the Islanders front office has done everything it could to make a run at re-signing the 27-year-old, bringing in well-respected hockey mind Lou Lamoriello to run the team while showing general manager Garth Snow and head coach Doug Weight the door in the process. Lamoriello, recognizing the long-term importance of the captain to the team, immediately went to work with Tavares’ camp to work on a new deal. New York can offer Tavares an eight-year contract, while other squads can give him seven at most.
Six teams reportedly in play for Tavares
Tavares’ odds of staying put on Long Island look a lot better now than they did a few months ago, but there are some other intriguing betting options available. While Tavares hasn’t ruled out returning to the Isles, he’s set to meet with five other teams this week before officially hitting the open market. Those franchises are the Stars, Bruins, Sharks, Maple Leafs and Lightning.
Do you think Tavares will stay with the only franchise he’s ever known, or will he suit up for a different team in 2018-19? Have your say in the comment section. For more betting information on the ice, head over to our NHL page.