Isles to ink Tavares to long-term deal

The New York Islanders will announce Thursday a long-term contract extension for former No. 1 overall draft pick John Tavares.

Amid reports that the team had been negotiating a new deal to lock up Tavares, the Islanders said in a release Wednesday they would hold a press conference at Nassau Coliseum Thursday on the center’s future.

Tavares’ deal is expected to be in the six-year range and worth an average of $5.5 million per year, according to TSN.

The Ontario native was the No. 1 pick for the Islanders in 2009 and although he does not turn 21 until next week, he has become the face of the franchise.

Tavares, who had 29 goals and 38 assists last year, is heading into the final year of his entry-level deal, and his interest in remaining with the Islanders appears to be more than just talk.

"I’m committed to Long Island and the Islanders. They’ve been great to me," Tavares said recently.

"We have a great bunch of guys and I’d love to be part of turning this around from where it was and bringing us back to credibility, respectability and being a team that’s constantly in the playoffs and competing for the Stanley Cup."

The Islanders have had trouble convincing top players to sign with the franchise, so keeping their own has become a top priority.

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