John Tavares had surgery on his right hand last month but is expected to be fully ready for next season, the Islanders said.
The captain had the surgery a week after the Islanders’ season ended to fix an issue that lingered through much of the season. His hand is still in a cast, which is scheduled to be removed next week, giving him ample time to go through his rigorous offseason training without missing any time.
Tavares already has had one follow-up visit and his hand is recovering on schedule, according to the team.
Despite missing the final five games of the season because of a hamstring injury, Tavares had 28 goals and 38 assists to lead the Islanders in scoring. The Isles won all five games but missed the playoffs by a point, the fifth time in Tavares’ eight seasons with the Islanders that he has not reached the postseason.
This already was going to be an eventful offseason for Tavares, who has one year remaining on his contract and will let general manager Garth Snow know sometime in the next month whether he is interested in signing a long-term extension.
He is eligible to sign a new deal on July 1 and the Islanders, from owners Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky on down, have spent the better part of a year keeping the lines of communication open with his agent, Pat Brisson, about the organization’s plans.
The Islanders are likely to offer Tavares an eight-year contract worth upward of $10 million per season.
If Tavares tells the club he’s not interested in signing this summer, Snow likely will be forced to entertain trade offers for his superstar before July 1 arrives. Even with a year left on his deal, the Islanders can’t wait to see what happens in the 2018 offseason and risk seeing their franchise player walk away with no compensation.