The New York Islanders were one of the worst teams in the league in 2013-14. John Tavares missed some of the season after getting injured in the Olympics, and the team fell apart. After trading for Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk right before the season, the Isles were the darlings of the NHL this past season.
Tavares was named as one of the three finalists for the Hart Trophy, given to the MVP of the NHL. He is currently going up against Alex Ovechkin and Carey Price for the honor.
The Hart Trophy goes to “the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team.” That is hard to calculate, because you need to know whether his teammates affect the voting. Will Tavares lose votes because Kyle Okposo was good this season? Does Price get less respect because Dustin Tokarski is a capable backup? How much does Nicklas Backstrom‘s amazing season knock down Ovechkin?
Tavares is the heart and soul of the Isles. If he doesn’t go, neither do the Isles. When this team was fighting for positioning towards the end of the season, Tavares scored 13 points in the last six games of the season. When his team needed him most, he was there to bury the puck. He had 86 points, and eight of his 38 goals were game winners. During the power play, he was unstoppable.
What makes Tavares even more special is he plays in every situation. While Ovechkin can’t play on the PK, Tavares is a crucial part of the Islanders’ penalty killing unit. The power play is a strength of every team, but Tavares knows how to work it even better.
At the end of the day, Tavares is most important to his team. Without him, the Islanders aren’t even close to a playoff team. Instead of being at the top of the standings for most of the year, they would be fighting for Connor McDavid. This is why Tavares should be the pick as the league’s most valuable player.