The Islanders won't let a team have Tavares as a rental until his free agency. Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Despite remaining unsigned now into February, John Tavares will not be traded this season regardless of what happens for the New York Islanders. That’s what GM Garth Snow told Pierre LeBrun, who reported on TSN’s Insider Trading that they’ll use all the time they have before the end of the season to try and get Tavares signed long-term.

The 27-year old will be the biggest story in the NHL heading into free agency if he still isn’t signed, and recently Craig Custance of The Athletic wrote how Tavares could be holding up the trade market as well. Teams are trying to leave room under the cap in order to make a pitch this summer, even if it means not striking a deal during the season to improve their clubs. Whether that continues all the way to the deadline is still to be seen.

Tavares is in the middle of what could be called the best season of his career, recording 57 points through 52 games and generally being an absolute force every time he touches the ice. The Islanders meanwhile can’t seem to keep the puck out of their own net and have struggled to keep pace in the Metropolitan Division. Many believe that the team will be buyers at the deadline in order to prove to Tavares they are committed to winning in the short term.

Though it is clear that Tavares hasn’t made up his mind fully just yet on whether to re-sign or not, it is a good omen for Islanders fans that they aren’t willing to move him. That means in conversations with their star center, they at least believe they’re still in the running to get a contract with him, and aren’t resigned to the fact that he’s leaving in just a few months. If Tavares had told them anything different, they could hold the auction of a lifetime for his rental rights and acquire quite the package of future assets.

Now the only thing left is to see whether that decision is a mistake. If Tavares walks at the end of the year for greener pastures, the Islanders will be left with nothing but a legacy of the first part of his career. Likely headed for the Hall of Fame one day—especially if given the chance at some postseason success—the question now becomes whether he’ll be wearing an Islanders sweater or not.

QUIZ: Name every player on all four of the New York Islanders 1979-83 Stanley Cup-winning teams

16 players were on all four of the New York Islanders 1979-83 NHL Stanley Cup-winning teams. How many of them can you name?

Clue: Number/Position

Score:
0/16
Time:
4:00
5/D
Denis Potvin
6/D
Ken Morrow
7/D
Stefan Persson
9/LW
Clark Gillies
11/C
Wayne Merrick
12/RW
Duane Sutter
14/C,LW
Bob Bourne
19/C
Bryan Trottier
21,91/C
Butch Goring
22/RW
Mike Bossy
23/RW
Bob Nystrom
24/D
Gord Lane
26/D
Dave Langevin
27/LW
John Tonelli
28/RW
Anders Kallur
31/G
Billy Smith
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This article first appeared on Pro Hockey Rumors and was syndicated with permission.

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