inked a six-year deal to remain with the organization through the 2017-18 season.
Commitment is the theme heading into the New York Islanders 40-Year Anniversary campaign, so it's only fitting that the day before Training Camp begins, franchise player
“Today is an extremely exciting day for the entire New York Islanders organization,” said Islanders General Manager Garth Snow. “It has been our goal to make sure we put the best team on the ice every night and today we’ll take another important step in ensuring that this will continue.”
Five days out from his 21st birthday, Tavares has a long and bright future ahead of him. He couldn’t be more pleased with his new deal to remain with the club who drafted him as the first overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
|New York Islanders forward John Tavares signed a six-year contract on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011 that will keep him with the franchise through the 2017-18 season. |
“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.”
He added, “This is where I want to live, to play and ultimately lead our team to the Stanley Cup.”
The center entered the league at the start of the 2009-10 season and made an immediate impact. That first year, he led the Islanders in scoring with 24 goals and 30 assists for 54 points.
Even as the Islanders battled through adversity last season, Tavares continued to grow as a player. Once again, he led the Islanders in scoring as he improved his point totals by 13, notching 29 goals and 38 assists.
“John is very gifted in many ways: his vision on the ice and ability to make the big play at key points in the game is impressive,” Snow said. “He continues to work on his game offensively, faceoffs, in fact, he even wants to be a penalty killer.”
About to enter the final year of his entry-level deal, media and fans were curious to see Tavares’ next move. It was often speculated that Tavares would try to leave the Long Island-based franchise, but he’s always been steadfast in his commitment to the team by whom he was drafted.
“Ever since day one, I’ve been treated first class by the organization,” Tavares said. “We have a great coaching staff that has helped me become the player that I am and a great bunch of guys in the locker room that really care about each other. I see every day the vision that we have and the drive we have as a team in the locker room.”
Building through the draft, Tavares and the rest of the Islanders young core have become family. Kyle Okposo
and Michael Grabner
showed their commitment to the franchise by signing five-year deals earlier this summer, while Tavares’ linemate and long-time friend Matt Moulson
signed on for another three years back in January.
|New York Islanders forward John Tavares speaks to the media shortly after signing a six-year contract on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011 that will keep him with the franchise through the 2017-18 season. |
“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.”
In the ongoing maturation process of the Islanders, the team has overcome giant obstacles and in the process become a close-knit group. With their newfound chemistry, the young squad hopes this coming season is one for the record books.
“I think it’s time for us to make that next step,” Tavares said. “Being a young team, sometimes your emotions can go from really high to really low. I think if we’re able to be a little more consistent and able to control our emotions, limit our bad stretches, stay even-keeled during our good stretches and play well within our division, it will give us a good shot at making the playoffs. That’s our goal. I think for us, we have to focus one day at a time.”
Tavares said, “Playing hockey is about hope. Hope inspires the desire to win, to pursue excellence and also bring home the Stanley Cup. That’s what I wish to hopefully do one day here with the New York Islanders.”
As he celebrates his 21st birthday next week, Tavares enters the next phase of his career.
“I believe it’s a great deal for me, a fair deal,” Tavares said. “I’m pretty fortunate to be where I’m at, turning 21 next week and being given a big commitment from the Islanders. I’m very thankful for it.”
He added, “It’s been a hell of a week.”