Thursday night, John Tavares will return to the Nassau Coliseum with his Toronto Maple Leafs to take on the New York Islanders, the team he played for nearly a decade prior. Instead of signing a new contract with the Long Island club, the Mississauga, Ontario native decided to return close to home, signing a seven-year, $77 million deal with Toronto.

Harsh words from the Islander faithful, who are not expected to make his Nassau return easy. 

Trotz, who was just ten days into the job as Islanders head coach when Tavares made his exit from the team, had obviously not been in New York nearly long enough to understand the impact a player like Tavares had not just on the team, but off the rink with the fanbase as well. 


Trotz himself had just left the Washington Capitals, as the two sides parted ways due to a contract dispute. Fresh off Washington's Stanley Cup Finals win over the Las Vegas Golden Knights, Trotz found himself with his current team just three days later. 


Beyond the surface theatrics, this matchup could provide playoff ramifications. The Islanders sit at the top of the NHL's Metropolitan Division, with 79 points. Meanwhile, the Maple Leafs are currently third in the Atlantic Division with 82 points.