While it's hard to say whether the NHL free-agent interview period tipped the scales in the John Tavares sweepstakes, the process certainly didn't sit well with New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello.
"I was extremely disappointed with the window of interviews; that was not the intention of how the league and union intended it," Lamoriello told Andrew Gross of Newsday. "I was very disappointed with the way the process was. I've never seen it like this one."
In 2013, the NHL introduced an interview period allowing teams to speak with pending unrestricted free agents prior to July 1. It was intended as an opportunity to gauge the interest of soon-to-be available players, but the interview period has gone one step further, with both sides talking parameters and agreeing to terms ahead of free agency.
Lamoriello's remarks come after Tavares used the interview period to sit down with five clubs, plus the Islanders, prior to signing with his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Boston Bruins, Dallas Stars, San Jose Sharks, and Tampa Bay Lightning also presented to the 27-year-old. Each club had the option of signing the center to a maximum seven-year pact, save for the Islanders, who could offer an additional eighth year up until June 30.
While the Islanders ultimately lost out on Tavares, the club's newfound cap space didn't last long, as New York added veteran forwards Leo Komarov and Valtteri Filppula in free agency, then re-acquired tough customer Matt Martin in a deal with the Maple Leafs.