25-Year-Old Center – New York Islanders
John Tavares Contract Information:
Tavares agreed to a six-year, $33 million contract with the Islanders in September of 2011.
Tavares scored the game-winning goal and added an assist in Wednesday's series-opening win over the Lightning.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
It's no secret that Tavares is one of the best forwards in the game and a first-round pick in almost any format. He was on pace for a career season last year, until a knee injury suffered during the Olympics knocked him out for the remainder of the campaign. Tavares is so good that it hasn't really mattered who plays on his line, but if the Isles can ever surround him with an elite talent, 40-plus goals is well within his reach. For those concerned about the knee, all indications from the center are that he is 100 percent healthy and that he will be ready to go come October. Don't pass him up if you get the chance on draft day.
Tavares announced himself loud and clearly last season as one of the best players in the NHL. Tavares scored 28 goals in 48 games and surely would've potted 40+ had this not been a lockout-shortened season. He is a sniper that seems to be getting better and better each year and that should continue as the Islanders build up the talent around him. If Ryan Strome were to play on his line, it will give defenses another highly skilled forward to worry about and should give Tavares even more room to work his magic. A first-round fantasy pick in almost all leagues.
Tavares has proven time and time again that the Islanders made the right choice when they selected him first overall in the 2009 NHL draft. His numbers have improved in each of his three seasons in the league and should only get better as the Islanders improve the talent around him; Tavares registered 81 points in 82 games last year. What was impressive about Tavares' numbers last season was that he produced at a point-per-game pace on a team that was shut out as often as the Islanders were. Tavares is a borderline first round pick in most drafts and should fall no further than the second round, he is the Isles' top goal scorer and is one of the league's elite young talents.
Tavares has been everything the Islanders were hoping for when they selected him first overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. He is a pure goal scorer that shoots the puck well, and his improvement from his rookie season is a positive sign and one would think he should only get better as the Islanders surround him with more talent. In the likely even Ryan Strome makes the team, he and Tavares could be a dynamic duo for years to come, but even without Strome, Tavares could score 30-plus goals this season and will be nothing but a positive force on Long Island.
The first overall pick in the 2009 draft had a solid freshman season for the Isles with 24 goals and 54 points. Like any rookie, Tavares struggled at times but overall looked like the type of player that the Islanders can build around for years to come. Tavares needs to work on a few things like skating and one-timers, but overall there is little reason to believe why he wouldn't crack he 30-goal barrier this season and in years to come.
Tavares comes to a team in dire need of goals (second-lowest scoring team last year after being last in 2007-08) and someone to draw some fans to the Coliseum. He is not on the level of Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin, but he is automatically the best goal scorer on the club and will be a key cog in turning the team around. He is a prime target in keeper leagues and for those who dwell in scratch leagues, a 20-plus goal campaign should be on the menu in 2009-10.
Tavares entered the OHL as a 16-year-old under the exceptional player rating and he didn't disappoint. He broke Wayne Gretzky's record for most goals in an OHL season as a 16-year-old, nailing 72 goals in 67 games and finishing with second in the overall scoring race with 134 points. He's not eligible for the NHL draft until 2009 and projects as a Phil Esposito clone. If you don't know who Phil is, you need to Google him fast. And you need to start praying now that you end up with the top pick in the 2009 draft. He's already a superstar.