Is the John Tavares Contract Situation Affecting His Play this Season?

For the last year or so, the idea that John Tavares could leave the Islanders after the 2017-18 campaign put nerves in the minds of many fans. Now, it begs to question whether the same has happened to Tavares himself.

The New York Islanders captain could possibly be affected by the upcoming end to his contract. Tavares is off to a relatively slow start, as he has just three points and is a -1 through six games to open the campaign. To make matters worse, those three points all came against a struggling Buffalo Sabres team that is currently 1-4-1 and dwindling to the bottom of the conference. For an Islanders team that cannot afford to dig out of an early hole like they did last season, his performance has been more than concerning. Could he be thinking about his contract? That could certainly be within the realm of possibility. After missing a wide open net that could’ve tied the game yesterday against the Kings, it became evident that something is not right. Tavares hits an open net ninety-nine times out of one-hundred. He could just be struggling a little bit to open the campaign, but it’s also possible that he’s putting too much pressure on himself, with his mega-contract on the line.

Tavares doesn’t exactly have a history of limping out of the gate. Through six games last season, he had five points. In 2015, he had nine. In 2014, arguably his best season to date, he had 11 through his first six. He’s s coming off offseason surgery, but he was doing the same in 2014. Being that he’s entering his prime years and will likely command a contract of $10 million plus, time is the only remedy right now. Is Tavares a different player that cannot take over a game quite like he could just last year? Unlikely, but his slow start certainly will open some eyes. We shall see if Tavares’ struggles continue.

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