New York Islanders captain John Tavares said Tuesday where they might play in the future has no bearing on whether he will re-sign with them.
"That stuff does not change my thought process in wanting to be an Islander and hoping things work out," Tavares told the Toronto Sun prior to playing the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre.
Tavares, from Oakville, Ontario, can become a free agent after next season, with speculation he will consider signing with nearby Toronto. But the 26-year-old, who was the No. 1 pick in the 2009 NHL Draft by the Islanders, has been steadfast in saying he wants to remain in New York.
"I have said it in the past: I want to be on the Island, that is where I hope everything works out," the center said. "I think we all know there is a lot more, a lot more goes into it than just saying you want to be there. Negotiations happen and there is a process that goes about it, so for me it is just going through all that. I have not really thought too much about it. … I love playing here and hope to be here."
The Islanders have played in Barclays Center in the borough of Brooklyn since last season, after leaving Nassau Coliseum. Recent reports have speculated they may not remain in Brooklyn long-term.
"I have not put that much thought into it," Tavares said. "I want to be honest with you, just focused on this point in the season. We all want to know where we are playing and what the situation is, but a lot that stuff is rumors and reports. The organization has been great, not just with me but with all the players."
Tavares had 46 points (20 goals, 26 assists) in 54 games entering play Tuesday. New York was 8-2-2 since Doug Weight replaced Jack Capuano as coach Jan. 17.
Tavares can sign a contract extension with New York on July 1.
Video: NYI@DET: Tavares buries Strome's dish for PPG