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Islanders to likely fill Tavares’ absence with youth

Feb 22, 2014, 7:34 PM EDT

Ryan Strome Getty Images

The loss of John Tavares to the New York Islanders for the remainder of the season with a knee injury was crushing news for the team.

While Tavares is out, the team must move on. As Arthur Staple of New York Newsday shares, Isles coach Jack Capuano is hoping for the best from players from within the organization to fill the captain’s shoes.

“Everyone realizes what Johnny means to this team and this organization,” Capuano said. “It’s time to focus on the people we do have moving forward. Players go down and other guys have to step up.”

Ryan Strome (pictured) and Anders Lee are the Bridgeport Sound Tigers’ top two scorers and they’ll both likely get the call to join the team. Making matters tougher for the Isles is Frans Nielsen‘s broken hand that won’t be healed before they open up play on Thursday at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

No matter how well Strome and Lee might play, replacing Tavares’ production (he’s third in the NHL in points) will be nearly impossible.

  1. bcisleman - Feb 22, 2014 at 10:28 PM

    Strome was returning after the break in any event and Lee surely would’ve been called up once Vanek was traded. It’ll be interesting to see who comes back in the Vanek trade. Someone like Toffoli or Silfverberg would be interesting.

    The injury stinks for JT. He might’ve taken a run at 100 points and certainly was on pace for his best year stat-wise. But it might be a good thing for the team as a whole. No way were they making the playoffs after the pre-break slump. Now the Isles will get to see what each player is made of. It will likely boost the development of players like Lee, Strome and Nelson.

  2. djshnooks - Feb 23, 2014 at 4:56 AM

    Sorry, Toffoli and Silfverberg are two players Buffalo highly covets…if they couldn’t get a prospect for Vanek, Garth Snow sure as hell won’t.

    They’ll get a roster player (ala Moulson) and a draft pick…nothing more than that.

    Bigger question is, is that bum gonna give us a top-5 pick this year? Or will he be dumb enough to give us another lottery pick for McDavid next year? Because we all know the Islanders will not be good again next year…it’s a HUGE call to have to make. But it’s gotta be made soon.

    Hate to see a player like Tavares go down like that, even though he’s Canadian…but gosh, this is HUGE for a rebuilding team like Buffalo, that pick is gonna be good!!!

    • huyg2232 - Feb 23, 2014 at 8:46 AM

      Why won’t the isles be good? They have great D prospects coming up…Reinhardt, polka, pulock and mayfield. They are strong down the middle Tavares, Strome, Nielson, Nelson and Cizikas. They have some good wings plus word on the street is Petrov is going to the Islanders next year. The two biggest things holding them back is coaching and goaltending. You give them peter Laviolette and an above avg goalie, they make the playoffs.

    • ikedavisnose - Feb 23, 2014 at 11:40 AM

      The Isles pick they traded to Buffalo is First Round Protected, so the odds are that they will keep it this year and give it to Buffalo Next year

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