The Montreal Canadiens might have a $50,000 bill headed their way.
At a golf tournament on Monday morning, Habs owner Geoff Molson revealed to the media (via Richard Labbe of La Presse) that he and general manager Marc Bergevin have held discussions about acquiring big-time players including New York Islanders star and captain John Tavares.
By NHL rules, you can’t do that.
Speaking about pursuing a player that is currently under contract is considered tampering and punishable by monetary fines.
Tavares is under contract with the Islanders until July 1, 2018, though New York is currently trying to avoid free agency by extending his contract before the start of the 2017-18 season.
Regardless, it’s a small price to pay for Montreal as now it is public that they want the four-time All-Star. The Canadiens are a much larger franchise with the money to outbid the Islanders, which would give Tavares or any other impending free agent in the same situation the notion that a larger contract would be waiting in Montreal. This is why tampering rules have been put in to place.
Luckily for the Islanders, Tavares has remained committed to the team that drafted him first overall in 2009, constantly reminding those who are questioning his future that he wishes to stay.
That doesn’t mean the Islanders don’t have work to do.
Sources told Newsday’s Arthur Staple in late August that Tavares wants to see the team make a legitimate effort toward becoming a playoff contender while settling their current arena situation. The team is expected to leave the Barclays Center at the end of next season but don’t have concrete plans as to where they will play home games in 2019-2020. At the moment, the area next to Belmont Race Track in Elmont, NY is the favorite to land the team.
Should the Islanders meet Tavares’ standards, signing an extension should be quick and painless.
It’s just the ticking clock that is working against them.