New York Islanders captain John Tavares’ season came to a quiet end as he went 4 games without a point and his Isles crashed out of the playoffs in the second round.
The Islanders captain’s lack of production in the last four games will certainly be a sore spot for him going forward. But it would be harsh to judge him solely on the last four games alone. What about the other 82 regular season games?
Much of the Islanders offense goes through John Tavares. The former number one draft pick was an exceptional player in his junior days and that remains today. He’s dynamic, creative and a natural leader, shown by his recent nomination as a Mark Messier Leadership award finalist for 2015-16.
So what about his performance over the full season? And how does that performance translate into an overall grade for the season?
Regular Season Stats
*Stats taken from ESPN.com
John Tavares’ Grade
Tavares had a pretty good year. His 70 points on the season was good enough for 16th in the league. A spot he shared with Washington Capitals center, Niklas Backstrom.
With that being said, there’s still a sense that the regular season was a disappointment for Tavares. Last year saw the Toronto native notch 86 points as he pushed his New York Islanders squad into the playoffs with a 3rd place finish in the metropolitan division.
It was a sign that Tavares had put a poor post-lockout season in 2013-14 where he scored but 66 points, behind him. But 70 points is still nothing to scoff at in a league where goal scoring is at an all-time low.
March was a difficult month as the Islanders seemed to have lost their way with five losses in a row. The losing streak meant that a spot in the playoffs was in jeopardy for the Islanders.
More importantly for Tavares, he had but two points during that entire stretch and eleven months over the entire month. It’s almost as though, as Tavares’ fortunes go so do that of the Islanders.
The Final Grade
John Tavares is the New York Islanders. The ebbs and flow of the team corresponded directly to the ebbs and flow of their captain’s production. Not only was this shown in the regular season but game 6 of the series against the Florida Panthers was further proof.
It was Tavares’ two goals, one in the dying minute of regulation and the second coming in double overtime that sealed the win for the Isles and booked their ticket to the second round. Without his heroics, the season would have ended far sooner than it actually did.
Tavares’ season was by no means an utter disappointment. He ranked in the top 20 in the entire league in points. He guided his team through tough times and into uncharted territory. He did what a captain was supposed to do. He underperformed (it’s hard to even write that) but he did.
His production slipped a bit. Whether that was because of jostling lines or not isn’t the question. Getting a perfect grade should only be awarded for perfection, and 2015-16 wasn’t perfect.
Final Grade: A