Whether John Tavares will return to the Islanders might not be known at least until the free-agent market opens on July 1. But the fate of general manager Garth Snow and coach Doug Weight should be known by Monday.
Those two, as well as co-owner Jon Ledecky, are scheduled to address the media after the second day of exit interviews with the players concludes on Monday. That — plus the fact that Snow and Weight are conducting the exit interviews — probably is a good indication that both will remain with the organization.
The Islanders concluded their first full season with Weight behind the bench at 35-37-10 and out of the playoffs for the second straight year.
They have made the playoffs only four times since Snow was elevated from backup goalie to general manager on July 18, 2006, and a first-round win over the Panthers in 2016 represents the franchise’s lone playoff series win since 1993.
Weight took over on an interim basis for the fired Jack Capuano on Jan. 17, 2017, and the Islanders finished that season 24-12-4 to miss the playoffs by one point.
Can the Islanders be playoff contenders next season? “I don’t think it’s going to take a whole lot,” right wing Josh Bailey said. “It’s just tweaking some stuff and hopefully we can get to where we need to be. The defense needs to improve as a whole. It’s everyone all pulling in one direction.”
The Islanders were seventh in the NHL with 261 goals scored, but their 293 goals against were the most in the NHL since 2006-07.
Of course, their offensive prowess would be diminished if Tavares, who had 37 goals and 47 assists, were to depart after completing a six-year, $33-million deal. Tavares, 27, has been a cornerstone piece almost from the minute the Islanders selected him first overall in 2009.
“The story line changes from hockey games to the summer agenda,” said left wing Anders Lee, who completes the top line with Tavares and Bailey. “Johnny’s situation is going to be at the forefront. You hope for the best for him and his family and, selfishly, we all want our captain back.”
“It’s kind of a tough thing to talk about,” left wing Anthony Beauvillier added. “You don’t want to lose Johnny. He’s the core of this team and everyone knows it. I’m pretty sure he wants to stay, but Johnny is going to make his own decision.”
Tavares also is scheduled to meet the media on Monday after his exit interview.
“It started a long time ago,” defenseman Johnny Boychuk said of his personal campaign to keep Tavares an Islander. “I’ve been wearing his JT shirts around the locker room, hopefully doing my part.”
Notes & quotes: Boychuk said he will undergo surgery on Monday for an unspecified lower-body injury that has bothered him all season. He said he expects to be fully recovered by June . . . Jaroslav Halak said he will not play for Slovakia in the World Championships May 4-20 in Denmark. Thomas Greiss said he is undecided as to whether he will play for Germany . . . Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, an impending unrestricted free agent who will turn 37 in the offseason, said he wants to continue his career. He will play for Germany in the World Championships . . . Right wing Tanner Fritz was returned to Bridgeport (AHL) on loan.