New York Islanders: John Tavares Has Become An Elite Player

By Randy Holt
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

John Tavares has been coming along for a couple of years, and it looks like he’s just about starting to hit his stride for the New York Islanders.

The former no. 1 overall pick took a little bit longer to acclimate to the NHL level. Combine that with the fact that he plays for the Islanders, and you could probably understand why Tavares has been flying under the radar quite a bit over the course of his career. Don’t expect that to last too much longer.

After posting almost exactly a point per game last season, Tavares is off to a terrific start this year. He has 25 points in 21 games, including 13 goals. He’s been a contributor in each facet of the game, at full strength, on special teams, and in the faceoff circle. He’s become an elite center.

As far as his skill set goes, he’s an incredibly smart player. He has splendid playmaking abilities and an accurate shot. He’s not quite in league with the likes of Sidney Crosby or Jonathan Toews, but he’s not too far off.

Despite the fact that he’s made the jump to elite over the past calender year, Tavares hasn’t quite gotten the attention that he deserves. Much of that is probably due to playing for the Isles. But there’s an emerging core of young talent here, which is headlined by Tavares. Of course, he needs a bit more help.

The Islanders have had enough high draft picks that they should be in a decent position to make a playoff run within the next couple of years. With a better supporting cast, they’d be in better shape and Tavares would get the media attention that he’s probably earned at this point.

When the Islanders are ready to contend, look for John Tavares to finally work his way into the spotlight. Until then, he’ll just continue to perform at the steady pace he’s demonstrated for the past year.

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