Tavares has come to a pivotal moment of his career, as he’s entering the final season of his six-year contract with the Islanders. He’s said he wants to stay with the Isles -- which is a bit surprising, considering that they've had a ton of trouble finding quality help for him -- but the team may be questioning whether it can commit to the star center for the long run. After all, while it may seem unreasonable to complain too much about last year's 66 points in 77 games, that was a substandard performance by Tavares' standards, his worst scoring rate since 2009-10. Additionally, the Islanders have a lot of promising prospects coming up and may choose to fully embrace their youth movement. However, with the 2009 draft’s top pick in the middle of his prime as he enters his age-27 season and a shiny new right winger in Jordan Eberle to ride shotgun (not to mention rapidly developing sniper Anders Lee on his left wing), Tavares is in great position to earn a lucrative long-term deal even if it isn't with New York. A rebound to his old point-per-game ways wouldn't be surprising, nor would a trade-deadline deal, though he does have a limited no-trade clause.
Entering last season with massive expectations after a career-best 86 points in 2014-2015 – good for second in league scoring – Tavares finished last year with 70 points in 78 games. The drop in production can be attributed to his somewhat lackluster first half, but he was able to pick up the pace at better than a point-per-game rate in the second half. Now the big question facing the 2009 first-overall pick is how he’ll fare without winger and long-time teammate Kyle Okposo, who inked a new deal up north in Buffalo this summer. Tavares is likely to turn to the newly acquired Andrew Ladd, who is seemingly destined to fill Okposo’s spot on the first line and power-play unit after being brought in on a new seven-year deal, in addition to the handful of other young talented forwards that have been developing. Expect big things as the face of the Islanders’ franchise figures to showcase his talents as the talks intensify regarding his future in Brooklyn. Also, he’ll get a jump start on the season as part of a loaded Team Canada in the upcoming World Cup in September.
In a league with numerous superstars, Tavares is occasionally overlooked due to how poor the Islanders were for the beginning of his career. Robbed of the scoring title last season by a four-point final night by the Stars' Jamie Benn, the former first overall pick is once again primed for a big season in the team’s inaugural year in Brooklyn. Playing in all 82 games, Tavares scored 38 goals and added 48 assists while singlehandedly propping up his rotating cast of linemates. On the power play, Tavares was lethal on a team that struggled to convert with the extra man, scoring 13 goals while adding 18 assists. An All-Star and a Hart Trophy finalist, Tavares has broken into the game’s elite and there’s no reason to believe the soon-to-be 25-year-old is going anywhere for years to come. A bonafide first-round pick in virtually all fantasy leagues, Tavares is a valuable cornerstone to any team.
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.