The NHL released its top 20 centers in the game right now. New York Islanders John Tavares ranks higher than Jonathan Toews and people outside of Islander fandom weren’t happy.
We know how good New York Islanders captain John Tavares is. But it’s nice to see how fans from across the NHL view our first overall pick from the 2009 NHL draft. Because the Isles rarely get some league wide love. So we’ll take it when we can get it.
When the NHL released its top 20 centers ranking John Tavares ranks sixth, while Jonathan Toews ranks 12th overall. And fans from across the league thought that Tavares should rank higher than his Chicago Blackhawks counterpart.
The ranking is meant to create discussion, and that’s exactly what it did. What the NHL used to rank these players is unknown to everyone, maybe even people at the NHL. All we know is that the ranking is for “right now”. So the NHL believes that Tavares is better than Toews, right now.
Is He Or Isn’t He?
The answer is as vague as the evaluation criteria. Tavares is clearly a better player in terms of production. Toews’ production seems to have flat lined at 60 points. A great return, but Tavares can hit over a point-per-game.
In terms of two-way play though the advantage swings to Toews over Tavares. At least from what we’ve seen so far. Due to injury to Casey Cizikas, Tavares started killing penalties for the Isles. There’s some value in Tavares’ defensive play, but to say he’s at Toews’ level is inaccurate.
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And then there’s the discussion of the ultimate prize. Jonathan Toews has three Stanley Cup rings to Tavares’ none. Say what you will about production but cups matter. Winning matters.
Is that maybe unfair criteria to use? Yeah. Probably. After all, Toews has Patrick Kane to lift the load in terms of production. If Tavares is the Kane in the Blackhawks setup up, who’s his Toews? Frans Nielsen was a good candidate. But right now. Who’s Tavares’ Toews? Barzal? That’s possible, but it’s a real ‘maybe’.
Again, John Tavares is the better of the two when it comes to production. There’s no contest. Tavares’ 537 points in 587 games (.915 ppg) to Toews’ 622 in 717 games (.868 ppg). And Tavares had a few down years there.
But Toews is nothing but a consistent top level player both on and off the puck. Add to that being the captain of a three-time Stanley Cup-winning team and his pedigree is clearly quite high
Had To Deal With Less
I get why BarstoolChief decided to go with Toews over Tavares, I can’t say that I agree though.
Matched one against the other Tavares is a better player simply because he can produce at a higher rate than Toews. There’s no argument about it.
And that’s what wins, production. Toews’ play is invaluable. And if building a team I’d want him. But would I want him over Tavares? No. No way not ever.
Both Tavares and Toews are products of their environments. Toews is surrounded by elite level players like Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Marina Hossa for a bit.
Flip the script a bit and surround Tavares with the same quality talent that Toews has. Is there any doubt the New York Islanders challenge for a Stanley Cup or two with that team? No.