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Islanders name Tavares 14th team captain

Monday, 09.09.2013 / 3:52 PM / News
By Brian Compton
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Islanders name Tavares 14th team captain
John Tavares has been the Isles\' statistical leader since entering the NHL. Monday, they named him team leader as well by handing him the captaincy

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- The lone benefit of finishing last in the NHL standings in 2008-09 was the New York Islanders' ability to select John Tavares with the No. 1 section at the 2009 NHL Draft.

With each passing season since, Tavares has gotten better. He was a Hart Trophy finalist last season, and he helped the Islanders return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs after a six-year hiatus. That's why it was no surprise when he was named the 14th captain in franchise history Monday during a press conference at Bethpage State Park.

"It's pretty special," said Tavares, who replaces Mark Streit as captain after the veteran defenseman was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in June. "You understand the responsibility, but at the same time, I don't think too much will change. I'm not going to try and force anything. It's a great group and being here with the guys, it just feels like we're back to normal. So many familiar faces … a few new guys, but guys that are going to fit in really well. The group's really growing together nicely, so I don't think the feel or the atmosphere of our guys, or the naming of me captain, is going to change a whole lot.

"But it's a great honor, especially part of such a great team and organization like the Islanders."

Tavares, who will celebrate his 23rd birthday Sept. 20, has led the Islanders in scoring in each of his first four seasons in the NHL. In 291 games, he has 112 goals and 137 assists. He finished third in the League with 28 goals in 48 games last season, and had three goals and two assists in the New York's six-game loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

While his skill set is unquestioned, it's Tavares' work ethic that has allowed him to establish himself as one of the better players in the League at such an early age.

"He's always trying to take his game to the next level, and that gets contagious in a locker room," Islanders general manager Garth Snow said. "He's a perfect captain for our team and we're looking forward to getting the season started.

"From the day we drafted John we knew he had a high skill set and that he could dominate on the ice. It's been fun to see him take on a leadership role and I think people from the outside now recognize what a high-character person he is and what a leader he is. John's in a good spot with the 'C' because he has a lot of character people around him in that locker room."

Tavares attributed his early success in the League to veteran players such as Streit and Doug Weight, both former captains of the Islanders. Weight now is an assistant coach and a senior adviser to Snow.

"I think I've been pretty comfortable in my shoes," Tavares said. "I've learned a lot since Day 1, especially from Dougie and from Mark. They've become two great friends of mine. I've learned a lot from what they did as captains. I think I do lead more by example, but I think every year I've grown and become more vocal and comfortable within the locker room. I think that'll continue."

Ready to compete in the newly-formed Metropolitan Division, the Islanders are eager to build off their first playoff appearance since 2007. With young players such as Tavares, Travis Hamonic, Josh Bailey, Michael Grabner and Kyle Okposo already in place and more on the horizon (Ryan Strome, Griffin Reinhart and Ryan Pulock, to name a few), the worst seems to be behind a franchise that is two seasons away from moving into the state-of-the-art Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

"We're extremely bullish on where we stand now and in the future," Snow said. "It's nice to see. I know it was painful at times, but it's been worth the wait."

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL

Author: Brian Compton | NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 50 31 15 4 163 132 66
2 MTL 47 31 13 3 127 108 65
3 NYI 48 32 15 1 157 135 65
4 DET 49 28 12 9 145 128 65
5 PIT 49 28 13 8 145 125 64
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 BOS 49 26 16 7 131 123 59
8 NYR 46 27 15 4 135 111 58
9 FLA 46 21 15 10 114 129 52
10 PHI 50 21 22 7 139 151 49
11 TOR 50 22 24 4 144 155 48
12 OTT 47 19 19 9 129 134 47
13 CBJ 47 21 23 3 119 148 45
14 NJD 49 18 22 9 110 137 45
15 CAR 48 17 25 6 104 125 40
16 BUF 50 14 33 3 94 179 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 48 23 25 -1 48
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 48 9 25 16 34
B. Nelson 48 15 15 5 30
F. Nielsen 48 9 17 4 26
J. Boychuk 38 4 21 16 25
J. Bailey 36 8 14 7 22
N. Leddy 48 7 14 14 21
N. Kulemin 48 11 9 0 20
A. Lee 42 13 5 6 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 26 10 0 .912 2.42
C. Johnson 6 5 0 .870 3.38

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