Arthur Staple On WFAN: 80% Chance John Tavares Will Re-Sign With Islanders

Joe & Evan
June 26, 2018 - 3:39 pm

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By WFAN.com

Arthur Staple, who covers the Islanders for The Athletic, said he believes there's an 80/20 chance John Tavares will return to the Islanders.

Talking to WFAN's Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts on Tuesday, Staple said the free-agent-to-be's decision to meet with several teams in Los Angeles this week is more about his going through the emotions and him expressing a true desire to move on.

"I think it's the process," Staple said. "I hate that word. It's used a lot in sports these days, but when he decided last summer that he wasn't going to even discuss signing pretty much until the end of the season, I think he was committing to a process that involved talking to other teams. ... And now, with what they've done in the last month, I think that's certainly the case. I think he's coming this far, and I think it would be delinquent on his part, he feels ... to not listen to other teams and at least see what's out there."

With all of the recent moves the Islanders have made -- hiring team president Lou Lamoriello and coach Barry Trotz -- it would seem strange if Tavares left for a new team now, Staple said.

MORE: Graziano: ‘The Decision’ Reaches Final Week For John Tavares

"I think there's going to be some creativity, some things that maybe Tavares and his camp haven't thought of, and it could give them some things to think about," Staple said.

Joe and Evan asked what the financial difference would be in leaving or staying in New York and how that might affect Tavares' choice.

"I mean, it's a big chunk of money," Staple said. "It's eight years and whatever it is -- 11, 11.5, 12 million per -- versus seven years everywhere else, and like I said, some of these teams are going to have to get very creative. The idea out there that Toronto or one of these teams could go to a max one-year deal, which is about 16 million, and then start talking about a longer-term thing during the season. I don't know if that's something that he's willing to consider, but the Islanders are the only ones that can give him eight years right now, and I would imagine money is no object to the Islanders with the cap space they have and the interest that they've shown."

A big reason Tavares was willing to explore other options was he felt as though the franchise was not moving forward enough, Staple said. But the future looks much brighter now than it did at the end of the season.

"The change that the ownership made, bringing in Lamoriello, bringing in Trotz, I think that kind of awakened him and awakened some other guys on the team to the idea that things aren't always going to be the same," Staple said.

"They've got a Cup-winning coach, they've got a legendary GM. I think they've realized that things have turned around quite significantly in the last month or so." 

MORE: Islanders Announce Barry Trotz As Next Head Coach

Further, Staple said he thinks there'd be a 20/80 chance of Tavares staying if those changes hadn't have been made. 

Joe and Evan asked for a timeline on Tavares' decision.

"If you hear something Friday or Saturday, he's an Islander," Staple said. "If nothing happens till Sunday, goodbye, John Tavares."

To listen to the interview, click on the audio player above.