As we wind deeper into summer and the 2017-18 NHL season draws closer, New York Islanders fans grow more and more uneasy with each passing day.
Captain and superstar John Tavares has been eligible to sign a contract extension since July 1, however, he and the Islanders have been unable to reach an agreement yet.
It's a dark cloud that's hanging over the organization that will only worsen if he isn't signed this summer. The 26-year-old becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2018, and would be the largest name available.
That doesn't bode well for the small-market Islanders, who would have a difficult time outbidding larger teams in order to retain their captain.
However, Tavares has expressed that he wants to stay with the Islanders and team management has echoed those sentiments as well.
And while it's understandable for some Islanders fans to panic, Tavares calmed some nerves when speaking to Newsday's Arthur Staple:
"For me there's really no rush. I'm trying to determine things, let the process run its course, keep the lines of communication open, keep it all internal and it's been good so far. … In terms of signing a new contract, there's a lot that goes into it. To really dive into all the details, get into all the conversations I've had with Garth, the team and Doug, I don't think it's productive to the situation and the negotiating. I prefer to keep it all internal. That's the best way to keep it all open, honest and healthy."
There might be even more progress made once the Islanders address their future plans later this year.
The team is looking for a new home as the Barclays Center was unfit to house an NHL organization. The Islanders will likely bid on the land next to Belmont Park to build their new home just seven miles down Hempstead Turnpike from their former one, the Nassau Coliseum.
"The possibility with Belmont and that [request for proposal] coming out, there's great potential there. We'll see where it goes. A lot of those things are out of my hands. Some things I don't try to worry about them too, too much. I'm just a hockey player. I try to be as best prepared as I can be. It's a big decision obviously because it's eight years of my career, really entering into my prime years and a great opportunity for myself to achieve what I set out to achieve when I was a kid, making it to the NHL, wanting to win a Stanley Cup and wanting to do that with the Islanders."
In just eight seasons with the Islanders since being drafted first overall in 2009, Tavares already ranks eighth in franchise history with 235 goals and 10th with 302 assists.