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Tavares commits long-term

Rapid Reaction: The news Wednesday that 20-year-old center John Tavares agreed to terms on a six-year, $33 million contract extension was big for the Islanders in every way.

Not only was it a huge reward for a long-suffering fan base, but Tavares' multi-year commitment is a major coup for the organization.

They locked in a elite young player for years to come and by doing so, ended rampant speculation that Tavares would bolt for greener pastures as soon as he could.

Isles general manager Garth Snow has long bemoaned the team's difficulty in landing top free agents, and as we saw this summer, that hasn't changed.

But perception may begin to shift now that the Islanders have received endorsements from several of the team's young core players.

Tavares' deal--which is expected to be official by the time of the Islanders scheduled press conference Thursday at 1 p.m.--is the most recent signing during a pretty active off-season.

Earlier this summer, Snow signed both Calder Trophy finalist Michael Grabner and workhorse power forward Kyle Okposo to five-year deals. Two-time, 30-goal scorer Matt Moulson was also awarded a contract extension back in January.

Bottom Line: Until the Islanders establish a winning team and a semblance of certainty regarding their future location, Long Island will never be a hot spot for top-tier free agents.

But the change has to start from within, and today, a very important player made a statement of support for the team moving forward.