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If nothing else, the Isles have John Tavares

John Tavares

New York Islanders’ John Tavares (91) celebrates his goal against the Carolina Hurricanes during the second period of an NHL hockey game at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y., Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012. The Islanders won 4-3. (AP Photo/Paul J. Bereswill)


Things haven’t been all that great for the New York Islanders the past five years. They’ve missed the playoffs each year, they’ve finished last in their division in all five years, and they even managed to be the worst team in the league in 2008-09.

Out of that mess came a superstar in John Tavares. The first overall pick in the 2009 draft has become the superstar the Isles hoped he would.

In each of his first three seasons, Tavares has improved each year. His 54 points in his rookie season with 24 goals made for a nice start, but following that up with 67 points (29 goals) two seasons ago and then an 81 point (31 goals) season this past year has shown GM Garth Snow that he needs to surround him with better players. With Tavares locked in for the next six years, the Isles don’t have to worry about him bolting town anytime soon.

As it is, scoring goals isn’t really the Isles’ problem with Tavares around. With guys like Matt Moulson, Kyle Okposo, and Michael Grabner around, finding the back of the net is a strength. Above all that, however, it’s Tavares’ burgeoning superstar status that shines above them all.

In any other situation you’d say, “As Tavares goes, so go the Islanders.” With the state the team is in (like with a newly acquired defensemen trying to find a way out before getting there), that’s just not the case.