Let’s say John Tavares goes onto have a long and productive NHL career, all with the New York Islanders. Hey that’s the plan, isn’t it? Say he racks up over 1000 points and 500 goals scored. But never hoists the Stanley’cup. Would he still be considered as great an Islander as the dynasty players?
Right now the New York Islanders captain has 537 points (235G, 302A) over eight NHL seasons. With his current 0.9 points per game, a healthy JT averages 75 points per season. On this pace, it should take him just short of eleven NHL seasons to catch the current Isles points leader, Bryan Trottier.
It’s not going to be easy but Tavares, who turns 27 next month, could possibly catch Trottier, that is barring any serious injuries. Say he does catch Trottier and surpasses him, but never wins the cup. Would JT be considered the best player to have worn the blue and orange?
What makes a player the best?
I would say the best player is the one who was most successful in achieving his goals. The aim and dream of every NHL player that steps into the league is to hoist the Stanley Cup.
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As good as it sounds to rack up over 1,000 points, the ultimate goal in the NHL is to win the Stanley Cup. Whats the point of putting up great numbers if he can’t use them to win a championship. The cup is the reason players grind out 82 games and four rounds of playoffs. So it can’t be overlooked.
I’m not saying there weren’t any great NHL players to have never won the cup. They’re just not comparable to the ones who actually did win. Take Pat LaFontaine as an example, one of the most dynamic goal scorers to ever play for the Isles.
But is he considered on the same level as Mike Bossy and Bryan Trottier? No, because despite his tremendous skill, he was never as successful when it came to championships. As good as he was, he never achieved the ultimate goal.
One could argue that it wouldn’t be JT’s fault that he didn’t have as good of teammates as Bossy did. After all hockey is a team game and one player can’t win a Stanley cup on his own. But it still wouldn’t change the fact that he never accomplished the actual aim of the league.
The best player should be the one that brings the most success to the franchise. Championships are what proves great players to be the greatest. It’s not just championships that factor in. But they’re definitely important and even necessary at times.