Islanders head coach Doug Weight isn’t stressing over whether John Tavares will sign a contract extension this offseason. And if a new deal isn’t signed by July 1 then the Isles coach is suggesting not panicking either.
“Make no mistake, John loves it here,” Weight told NHL.com. “I’ll speak for him, I don’t mind. But he’s earned the right to come and make a decision, an intelligent decision. He’s a thinker. He’s not a PR guy that wants to drag it out. But he’s going to do what he sees fit. I believe we have an unbelievable opportunity to sign John. We have things to prove to him. But it’s not going to affect our hockey club. I hope to sign him on July 1, but if it doesn’t happen, I’m not changing my mindset or anything of that nature, and neither is he.
“That’s the most refreshing thing. We have a big year ahead of us here and we’re not going to let those things affect us personally or as a team.”
Weight’s comments come as he addressed a wide range of topics in the story that was published on Tuesday. Weight will be entering his first full season behind the bench after taking over as interim coach when Jack Capuano was fired in January.
There will be plenty of challenges for in Weight in his first year as head coach. The Islanders will have a battle for the starting goaltending job next season and their will be plenty of expectations on Weight to help the Islanders pick up where they left off at the end of last season, when the club went 24-12-4 in their final 40 games.
And off the ice, aside from re-signing Tavares another big question needs to be answered. The Islanders will need to figure out where they will play home games long-term.
The organization is expected to submit a bid to build a new arena at Belmont Park, but New York State has been slow to announce a request for proposal at the site.