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Tavares still looking for higher level despite breakout season

Apr 5, 2012, 8:27 AM EDT

John Tavares Getty Images

John Tavares is just one point away from 80 with two games remaining in the regular season. That’s a nice jump up from his 67-point sophomore campaign and it’s further validation of the Islanders’ decision to take him first overall back in 2009. At this point, Tavares has gone from being a top-tier prospect to a legitimate star, but that doesn’t mean he’s done growing.

“I do feel like I’ve taken a lot of strides this year, and I’m happy to see that the things I worked hard on last summer have paid off in some ways,” Tavares said. “When this season is over, I’ll see some more things I want to improve on and try to get to that next level.”

The Islanders will fall well short of the playoffs again and the only upside is that they’ll probably end up with a top-five pick for the fourth straight year. Still, with Tavares leading the way and some other impressive youngsters developing, it might not be too long before Tavares finally gets a chance to show what he can do in the postseason.

  1. bcisleman - Apr 5, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    Its clear from this season and last that the first two months are key for the Islanders. That’s when the wheels have come off the cart and the team has fallen into a hole that proves too big to climb out of.

    The Islanders’ point totals for December through March never fell below 14. In October, they were 8 and November 10. If the Isles had 14 or more points for those two months and not blown leads twice against the Caps and once against the Devils down the stretch, they would be in the 8th spot now. Consistency is the key.

    JT needs support. He has it on the first line with Matt Moulson and PA Parenteau. The Isles need more production from their other lines and the blue line and they need consistent goaltending.

    Signing Nabby was big as far as goaltending although Garth will have to decide if Montoya should be his backup. Matt Donovan, who played his first game against the Devils, will be a big help on the blueline and hopefully Garth can make one or two good FA signings. Adding the recently signed Brock Nelson should help secondary scoring and Ryan Strome may make the roster as well.

    Hard yo say who Garth will draft in June, but Alex Galchenyuk is interesting. He apparently was inspired to pursue professional hockey after watching JT play as a junior. Drafting him might inspire Kirill Petrov to cross the pond. He had been disappointed that the Isles drafted Nino in lieu of Burmistrov in 2010. Perhaps Petrov and Kabanov could form an all Russian second line.

    • danphipps01 - Apr 5, 2012 at 2:31 PM

      As a rule, the “all-Russian line” idea really only works for the Red Wings.

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