The 2013 season was a brilliant one for John Tavares. The young New York Islanders forward built on a strong 2011-12 season to break into a category with the elite players in the game. His performance culminated in him being named a Hart Trophy finalist, for league MVP.
As we head into the 2013-14 season, expectations are higher for the Islanders. They’re coming off of their first playoff series in a decade and are looking to build off of it. With a strong influx of youth currently gracing their roster, they have a bright future ahead of them.
Looking at Tavares specifically, it’s clear the Islanders have one of the very best players in the game. As a top line center, Tavares has shown in the last couple of seasons that he’s one of the best in the game, perhaps among the top five all-around centers in the game. Maybe even better.
This new season will be the first in several years in which the Islanders actually find themselves with expectations to meet. Right in the middle of those expectations is Tavares, who is coming off of a season in which he averaged about a point per game. Is it reasonable to expect a 100-point campaign from him in 2013-14?
It’s not completely out of the question. The 2011-12 season saw him post 81 points in 82 games, before he went for 47 in 48 games last year. He’s a point-per-game player, no doubt about it. But is he capable of reaching that 90-100 point mark?
In a shortened season, Tavares fell only three goals shy of his career high. His 28 goals ranked third in the league, only four behind Alex Ovechkin. Which means that in a full season, you’re looking at a guy that is capable of putting in 40-50 goals, now that he’s reached the elite level he was capable of.
A potential 40-goal season puts Tavares about halfway there. Playing next to someone like Matt Moulson could absolutely help him reach new heights. With Moulson’s potential goal output, you’re talking about a potential 80 points for Tavares, based off of the two alone. Take into account whoever ends up on his right, and you could have it.
There’s no doubt that Tavares is supremely talented. He’s one of the very best in the game. While 100 points seems like a pretty lofty goal, the Islanders have the offensive skill to put on either side of him that could help him reach it. Whether or not it actually happens, we’ll just have to wait and see.