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John Tavares open to extension with Islanders

New York captain would become free agent after next season

NHL.com @NHL

New York Islanders captain John Tavares said Saturday he remains open to signing a contract extension when he becomes able to do so after this season.

"Yeah, of course. Yeah, for sure," Tavares said at Media Day for the 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Game. "I mean, I've always stated how much I enjoy playing on Long Island, and the organization, how well they've supported me. Obviously, we've had some new ownership come in. They've brought some real good commitment and show their vision for the future. I'm excited about where the Islanders are headed and hopefully we can work something out."

The Islanders fired coach John Capuano on Jan. 17 and replaced him with Doug Weight. New York entered the All-Star Break 21-17-9, sixth in the Metropolitan Division and five points out of the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

The Islanders have been owned by Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky since being transferred from Charles Wang last July 1.

Tavares was the No. 1 pick by the Islanders in the 2009 NHL Draft. He has 226 goals and 285 assists (511 points) in 557 NHL games, including 19 goals and 21 assists in 47 games this season.

He is eligible to sign a contract extension with the Islanders starting July 1. His contract, which has an NHL salary-cap charge of $5.5 million annually, according to capfriendly.com, expires after next season and Tavares would be eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2018.

"It is what it is," the 26-year-old said. "Obviously, my contract's coming up in a year and a half. People are talking, but all I can do is just focus on playing the game and try to make the [Stanley Cup Playoffs]. … It's obviously been an up-and-down year for us and [Jack] getting let go wasn't easy."

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