When Mark Streit was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers, it left a void at captain for the New York Islanders for this upcoming season. There are a few guys on the team worthy of being the next captain, but to me, there is one who stands out above the rest. Next in line to be captain of the Islanders, as far as I’m concerned, should be the one and only John Tavares. Sure there are guys on the team who have the potential to be leaders, both in the locker room and on the ice. In my mind, Tavares has done that the past few years and can really lead this hockey club to where it wants to go.
The only other player currently on the Islanders I could see maybe leading this team would be Lubomir Visnovsky. With Visnovsky, he hasn’t been around this Islanders team long enough to really know the organization and be the best choice to represent and lead this team. Tavares has the qualities, from what I can tell, to be the perfect captain for this hockey club. Tavares will be here for a long time and is the future for this franchise. At times last year, Tavares looked more like a leader than Streit did. Tavares led the guys by example a year ago, some nights carrying the team on his back more often than not. He was the best player on the club and one of the big factors for last year’s playoff push. And most important of all, Tavares has the qualities of being a perfect captain for this team.
Tavares has been known to be vocal in the locker room and on the ice. When a teammate isn’t playing up to par, Tavares will let him know about it. Tavares is great at what he does on the ice, and thus it motivates the players around him to step their game up to new levels. Tavares has shown that he is willing to stick up for his teammates and has called them out when needed, both of which are great qualities for a captain. He is liked by all of his teammates, and that is crucial when it comes to picking a team leader.
In his time playing on Long Island, Tavares has shown a skill level and maturity that goes beyond his years. At just 22 years old, Tavares still has a long career ahead of him. He can represent the team the best, at the moment. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of guys on this hockey club who embody the spirit of what it means to be an Islander. From what I can tell nobody does it better than Tavares. The guy knows how to win, and he knows how to be a strong leader. Tavares is the perfect fit to be the next captain of the Islanders.
Matthew Solomon covers the New York Islanders for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter!