The New York Islanders have announced a signing on Friday night but unfortunately for fans of their team it's nit even remotely close to the signing that they were hoping to hear announced this evening.
According to a report from National Hockey League insider Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports the Islanders have signed 27 year old journeyman defenseman Seth Helgeson to a multi year deal. Lavoie reports that the contract is a two way deal that will pay Helgeson $650,000 at the NHL level in the first year, $250,000 at the American Hockey League level, and he will get a slight bump to $700,000 in the NHL and $250,000 in the AHL in the second year of his new deal.
No disrespect to Helgeson but he would be considered a minor setting at the best of times and in the current circumstances there are so many announcements that could have surpassed this one. Helgeson is a depth addition, the kind of depth that likes to throw his fists around, that will likely spend significant time in the AHL and most important of all he's not New York Islanders captain John Tavares. Fans are not only waiting with baited breath to hear whether or not their captain will remain for another 8 years or if he will leave them to pursue his fortunes elsewhere around the league.
Even if the signing were not to announce Tavares I have no doubt that fans in New York would have rather the Islanders make a move to acquire a potential asset that could entice Tavares to remain for an additional 8 years. That being said though you can't expect miracles and even if they had an agreement in place wit ha free agent it could not be made official until Sunday July 1st, potentially after Tavares will have already announced his choice.
As far as the hockey world is concerned all eyes right now are on Tavares and they are eagerly awaiting any sign that may indicate which way he will lean in one of the biggest decisions from a player in recent memory.
The interesting thing here is that although there is no hard deadline on Tavares to make a choice, there is something of a soft deadline on Saturday June 30th due to the way the National Hockey League's contract rules work according to the Collective Bargaining Agreement(CBA). The CBA stipulates that should Tavares enter the free agency period on the 1st of July he will lose his opportunity to sign an 8 year deal with the New York Islanders organization. As a result of this there is a strong belief, for good reason, that if Tavares has not signed a contract by 11:59 PM on Saturday that he will have chosen to leave the Islanders organization.
We've heard from some sources that the San Jose Sharks, Toronto Maple Leafs and his current team the New York Islanders are the only organization that truly still remain in the race but that may not be entirely accurate. It is now believed that Pat Brisson, the agent who represents Tavares, remains in constant contact with all 6 teams that made presentations in Los Angeles.