Center: John Tavares
2010-2019 Islanders Stats: 256G, 337A, 593Pts, 627GP
It didn’t end well, but there’s no denying that John Tavares is the most important player from this past decade to play at center. Drafted in 2009, first overall, JT was supposed to be the savior of the New York Islanders.
While he never won a Stanley Cup or made it to an Eastern Conference Final, Tavares certainly made the Isles relevant again. After a couple of brutal years in a row, the Islanders made the playoffs three out of four years from 2012-2013 through 2015-2016.
In those playoff years, he definitely had memorable goals to go along with it. His overtime game-winner from game three against the Capitals stands out, and of course the biggest moment of the decade, the double-overtime winner to send the Isles to the second round for the first time in 23 years.
Tavares’ best year as an Islander came in 2014-2015 when he put up 86 points (38 goals, 48 assists) finishing third in Hart voting.
Frans Nielsen played 10 years for the Islanders as a reliable two-way forward. He had 349 points in 606 career games. In 2013-2014 Nielsen had a career-high of 58 points (25 goals, 33 assists).
Mat Barzal, drafted in 2015, won the Calder Trophy in his rookie season in 2017-2018 and put up an impressive 85 points. He followed that up with just 62 last year but he’s well on his way to being a superstar in this league.