Will John Tavares and the New York Islanders Part Ways After This Season?

John Tavares, NY Post

The New York Islanders 2017-2018 season has been a major roller coaster ride. As we near the end of the season there have been many questionable moves that will impact the team in the near future. Garth Snow, the New York Islanders General Manager, has been under scrutiny for lack of moves at the 2018 Trade Deadline that just occurred on February 26th. The New York Islander’s captain, John Tavares, is set to become an unrestricted free agent after this year. Garth Snow’s main objective should be to make sure Tavares re-signs, and as a team in a playoff spot at the deadline, the Islanders should have been trying to add pieces to make a big playoff push.

John Tavares Draft Day 2009, Zimbio
John Tavares has been a fantastic player since he was drafted in 2009. Being picked number one overall in that year’s draft by the New York Islanders, his job was to turn a miserable and struggling franchise into a playoff contender. His skill on the ice during his first few seasons, as well as leadership off the ice, proved how valuable he was to this franchise. In 2013, John Tavares became the 14th Captain in New York Islanders history and has been it ever since. He has been the franchise player for this organization for the last five years, but his future with the team is in the air.
The Trade Deadline came, and went, as the Islanders made small moves, swapping fourth liners with Anaheim trading Chimera for Wagner, as well as getting a bottom six defensemen, Brandon Davidson, from the Edmonton Oilers. According to Sportsnet.com, Garth Snow was given a D+ rating for the moves he made. Looking at the standings now, the Islanders are 4 points out of a playoff spot. Making the playoffs may help get Tavares to stay, but missing the playoffs, is a major negative event that will affect the captain’s decision. The lack of moves illustrates to Tavares that Garth Snow does not see the importance of winning Tavares over, and as fans this is unacceptable.
Chris Wagner, HF Boards

New York Islander fans have been busy on Twitter, illustrating their feelings about their general manager. There is a twitter page called “Snow Must Go”, as fans come together to talk about their frustration with the GM, as well as the direction the team is heading. With the creation of a Gofundme account and the use of a #snowmustgo hashtag, fans were able to raise more than $2,725 dollars. And what this money was for was comical and genius. This campaign was created in order to buy two billboards, located about half a mile from the Barclays Center, which would read “Snow Must Go”. This is an example of a peaceful protest, and a few days later the billboard was visible. According to NBC Sports article “Snow Must Go“, the Islander fans posted this message on social media in order to gain support: It’s time to send a clear message to Islanders owners Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin. Fans will no longer tolerate the culture of losing surrounding this franchise. Help us send a message and tell ownership that “SNOW MUST GO” on a poster board within a half mile of the Barclays Center.” This, hopefully, will depict to the owners that the fans are fed up, and changes need to be made in order to keep Tavares and lead the team in the right direction.

Barclays Center, Pentagram
New York City Live, Arch Daily

Another main issue with the team is their home arena for the next few years. Any player would want a stable living condition for themselves as well as their families. The Islanders have won a bid to build a new state of the art stadium at Belmont, which will be their home starting in the 2020-2021 season. Next year the Islanders will be playing 12 home games at their old home in Uniondale New York, once called Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, now New York City Live. In 2019 the Islanders will split home games fifty-fifty with these facilities. The Barclays Center has not been making enough money off the Islanders and wants them out earlier than expected.

This will also play a major role in John Tavares’s decision. There has been no talk from Tavares about wanting to leave and when interviewed about future seasons he uses the word “We”. But he is a professional and that is his job, as a captain and a player. One thing is certain, as the season comes to a close, the panic level for Islander fans is sure to increase as we wait for the decision of our captain.

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