Tavares Nets Six Year Contract Extension With Isles

John Tavares (valorfaerie/Flickr)The news was running rampant all over the twitter feeds and message boards yesterday that the Islanders were going to have a big announcement regarding number one center John Tavares and his future with the New York Islanders franchise. But as of today's 1 PM press conference, it became official: John Tavares has signed a six-year contract extension worth $33 million.

The contract has been said to be worth $5.5 million a year.

Tavares is only 20 years old and has led the team in scoring for back to back seasons while improving his numbers in the process. The first overall pick in the 2009 draft ended his rookie campaign in 2010 with 54 points in 82 games (24 goals, 30 assists). He then significantly improved his stats with a 13 point increase in 79 games, scoring 29 goals and 38 assists for 67 points.

The extension will not kick in until after his entry-level contract expires after this season.

In my opinion, this contract is an excellent win/win situation for both parties involved. The Islanders star forward not only has committed to the team for the long haul, but he has also done so after a public referendum turned down the proposal to renovate the Coliseum through public funding. The arena's lease expires in 2015, and JT's contract will keep him here until the end of the 2018 season. The Islanders have expressed the desire to be committed to the core of the team and have done an excellent job of doing just that. The more important part is that the players have responded in the exact same way.

And although Tavares is a player that still has room to improve, he has received a generous increase in his salary at an early stage in his career. Furthermore, the pay raise is an affordable one that shouldn't handcuff GM Garth Snow when he looks to add more talent to his roster down the road.

Many have speculated about the "what-if's" and how they could effect his next contract. What if the Islanders don't surround him with better talent? What if the Islanders don't have a new lease in place before 2015?

Well, JT just answered those questions. He's more concerned with giving back to the New York Islanders.

Per the Islanders official web-site:

John Tavares (valorfaerie/Flickr)"I am excited, thrilled, honored and thankful for the commitment Charles Wang, Garth Snow and the entire organization have made to keep me a New York Islander for another six years,” Tavares said. “I believe in this organization and this hockey club."

Tavares joins Matt Moulson, Michael Grabner and Kyle Okposo as other top players that have signed contract extensions. With those four locked up over the next three to seven years, the Islanders have retained a vast majority of their scoring with the team for a long time.

Tavares also made a point of how close he is with the other members of this team and how that was a reason why he wanted to stay as well.

“My teammates are family to me,” Tavares said. “They have taught me what it’s like to become a professional on and off the ice for the past two years and have made those two years the best of my life. I’m looking forward to our future together and what is held in store for us.”

But in the end, it was about staying in the place that he calls home.

Per TSN:

"This was more about me being happy about being an Islander and wanting to be here for a long time," Tavares said Thursday, while decked out in a blue and orange Islanders shirt that matched one worn by general manager Garth Snow. "We started talking, and once we were that close we felt like there was no reason to let it hang over our heads."

So, all the Leafs fans out there can stop expecting their golden boy to return home, because he is where he wants to be; with the New York Islanders.

In other news, Josh Bailey has been given a 7 AM deadline for tomorrow to sign a contract with the team. If he fails to do so, Bailey will be forced to miss the upcoming season while the New York Islanders would still hold his rights.

With agent Don Meehan's other clients having signed recent deals, (Brad Marchand with Boston and Zach Bogosian with Winnipeg), there is reason for optimism that a contract will get done in the next 13 1/2 hours. I know I said it before, but now the clock is officially ticking.

-Rob McGowan

UPDATED 9/16 6:56 PM

Unfortunately my job prevents me from getting to a computer for many hours of the day, but I did manage to tweet the news that I'm about to report; the Islanders have announced that they have agreed to terms with Josh Bailey on a two-year contract. Two years gives Bailey ample amount of time to turn himself into the second line center the organization believed he would become. If he doesn't, the Isles would have spent five years developing the prospect and could say they gave him plenty of time to prove himself.

So Mr. Bailey, it's up to you.

I received the e-mail at 5:45 AM. His deadline would have expired one hour and 15 minutes later.

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