Next year, John Tavares will enter his fourth NHL season with the Islanders. He will be just 22 years old. Throughout his four years, Tavares has played with captains, Doug Weight and Mark Streit. Streit is still the captain, but after four years, is it time to strip him of the honorable 'C' and place it on Tavares?
Leading by example is an important trait of any good NHL captain. Tavares has done so. Since joining the team, he's led the Isles in points every season. He recently notched career highs in goals, assists, and points with 31, 50 and 81 respectively.
Meanwhile, Streit's play has declined. This past season, he had a so-so year offensively, recording seven goals and 40 assists.
But the thing is, he had the third worst rating on the team with a minus-27. Streit has increasingly become a liability on defense. Maybe age is the reason, but the team's captain shouldn't have such a lousy rating.
Tavares has said all the right things to the media concerning the team. Tavares made it clear it would be an honor to be drafted by the Islanders, which the Canadian media somehow screwed up.
He's shown commitment to the team, and signing the six-year deal proved it. He's shown he's mature enough to lead the team. He already is a leader on and off the ice.
Before Streit earned the 'C', Tavares made it clear he would love to be the team captain. I'm sure he still has that desire.
It wouldn't be unusual if Tavares became captain. Look at other players around the NHL that became captains at a young age: Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews come to mind.
Streit clearly can't perform at the same level, and Tavares has already established himself as a team leader. He is a high quality player, and a vocal leader off the ice as well. And he wore an 'A' to serve as one of the team's alternate captains.
The Islanders feel they need a change in culture to make the next step. Naming John Tavares the captain of the New York Islanders could spark that successful culture on the Island.
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