New York Islanders Captain John Tavares has been with the team for eight seasons. During that time the Islanders have only managed one playoff series win.
Many fans are anxiously waiting for the announcement that John Tavares and the New York Islanders have come to an agreement on a contract extension. If and when an extension will be reached is still unknown. For Islanders fans the sooner the better, but in the end as long as Tavares stays an Islander those who cheer for the blue and orange will be ecstatic.
In the meantime, one can’t help but look back at Tavares’ Islander tenure to date. One thing that seems to stand out is how little the Islanders have helped Tavares.
The Islanders, for the most part have put players around Tavares in hope that he would make them better. The Islanders should have also put players around Tavares that would help make him better.
Tavares has demonstrated the ability to make those around him better over the course of his career. Matt Moulson‘s best career numbers came on the wing for Tavares. Moulson was an Islander for parts of five seasons: three full seasons, the lockout shortened season, and then he was traded after playing 11 games in the 2013-2014 season.
In each of the three full seasons with the Isles Moulson scored 30 or more goals. His career high without being a member of the Islanders was the 14 goals he scored last season. Though he did score 23 goals in 2013-2014, a season he split between the Islanders, Buffalo Sabres, and Minnesota Wild.
Reaching the Playoffs
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Tavares and Moulson helped lead the Islanders into the playoffs in the lockout shortened 2012-2013 season. It became the first season Tavares would finish as a Hart Trophy finalist, finishing third behind winner Alexander Ovechkin, and Sidney Crosby. Tavares then had his first taste of playoff action, playing against Crosby’s Penguins.
The Islanders traded Moulson to the Sabres early in the 2013-2014 season for Thomas Vanek. Vanek would be traded again by the trade deadline, but became possibly the best winger Tavares has had a chance to play with.
Though the Islanders struggled as a team in 2013-2014 the line of Vanek -Tavares –Kyle Okposo became a dynamic line. Tavares’ season was cut short following an injury in the olympics, but he still managed to put up 66 points in 59 games.
Tavares would come back strong in 2014-2015. He put together yet another Hart finalist season, and his 86 points were second best in the league right behind Jaimie Benn’s 87.
Ending the 23 Year Drought
2015-2016 saw the Tavares lead Islanders win their first playoff series since 1993. Of course the Captain scored the series winner against the Florida Panthers in double overtime of Game 6.
It was fitting that Tavares scored the goal to propel the Islanders. He was drafted in 2009 with huge expectations, and has been the leader that the Isles could have hoped for.
So far the Islanders have traded for Jordan Eberle during this offseason. This should be a good move as not only can Tavares make Eberle better, but Eberle can help to make Tavares better as well.