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John Tavares
John tavares.png
Born September 20, 1990 (1990-09-20) (age 26)
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight 205 lb (93 kg; 14 st 9 lb)
Position Centre
Shoots Left
NHL team New York Islanders
National team Flag of Canada.svg Canada
NHL Draft 1st overall, 2009
New York Islanders
Playing career 2009–present

John Tavares (born on September 20, 1990) is a Canadian professional ice hockey Centre who currently serves as captain of the New York Islanders of the National Hockey League (NHL).

He was selected first overall by the Islanders in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

Playing CareerEdit

Early Playing CareerEdit

At a young age, John moved to Oakville, Ontario, Canada where he was first exposed to minor hockey via the Minor Oaks Hockey Association.

He showed such promise as a hockey player that when he was seven, his parents moved him up one age group and he began playing with older children. From there, he moved on to the Mississauga Braves of the Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL).

After playing the 1998–99 season with the Braves' novice team, John moved to the Mississauga Senators of the GTHL the following season. With the Senators' AAA minor atom team, Tavares won the GTHL minor atom championship in the 1999–2000 season.

John eventually moved to the Toronto Marlboros of the GTHL. During the 2003–04 season he was teammates with Sam Gagner of the Edmonton Oilers. That season, he scored 95 goals and 187 points in ninety games and led the Marlboros' bantam team to the 2004 Bantam AAA Provincial Hockey Championships where the Marlboros defeated Drew Doughty and the London Jr. Knights 5–0 in the championship game.

John scored one goal in the game and was named the tournament's top forward. The following season, he joined the Marlboros' minor midget team, where he recorded 91 goals and 158 points in 72 games.

For his achievements, John shared the Buck Houle Award with Bryan Cameron, "in recognition of outstanding on ice performance, leadership and loyalty".

During this season, John also played 16 games with the Milton Icehawks of the Ontario Provincial Junior A Hockey League (OPJHL), during which he recorded 11 goals and 23 points. His debut with the Icehawks came while he was only thirteen, making him one of the youngest players to ever play junior hockey.

Ontario Hockey LeagueEdit

John petitioned to gain eligibility to play major junior in the OHL in the spring of 2005.

As OHL rules did not allow for players under the age of 15 to be drafted, the league introduced an "exceptional player" clause, allowing the 14-year-old John to be drafted one year sooner than he would otherwise have been eligible.

Consequently, he is the youngest player to ever be drafted in the OHL (although Bobby Orr was signed and had played at a younger age).

The Canadian Hockey League (CHL), the umbrella organization which governs major junior hockey in Canada, sent a proposal to Hockey Canada, recommending that the rule be expanded across junior hockey, which eventually was granted.

To date, only four other players: Aaron Ekblad, Connor McDavid, Sean Day and Joseph Veleno have been granted the same status.

The Oshawa Generals held the first pick in the 2005 draft, and they selected Tavares, earning him the Jack Ferguson Award, which is given to the player picked first overall in the OHL Priority Selection. Tavares played his first OHL game on September 23, 2005, scoring his first OHL goal in a game held just three days after his 15th birthday.

John showed he could play in the OHL immediately, scoring ten goals in his first nine games with the Generals and finished the 2005–06 season with 77 points, including 45 goals. Tavares was named to the OHL's all-rookie team, and won both the Emms Family Award and CHL Rookie of the Year awards as the top first-year player in both the OHL and CHL respectively.

As a 16-year-old in 2006–07, John was selected to represent the OHL for two games in January for the annual ADT Canada-Russia Challenge, including one game in Oshawa. Later that month, on January 25, 2007, he registered a 7-point night in a 9-6 win versus the Windsor Spitfires. He scored four goals and three assists, including his 50th goal of the season in his 44th game.

Towards the end of the season, on March 16, 2007, he recorded his 70th and 71st goals of the season, breaking Wayne Gretzky's OHL record for most goals by a 16-year-old. He was awarded the Red Tilson Trophy as the most outstanding player in the league, and named the CHL Player of the Year.

John scored 40 goals in 59 games for the Generals during the 2007–08 season, while his 118 points was placed him third in OHL scoring.

He led the OHL in scoring until he missed several games to participate with Team Canada at the 2008 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships. As he was participating in the 2009 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships, it was speculated that the Generals were ready to trade him to the London Knights.

John's future with the Generals had been questioned since the beginning of the season as the Generals were not expected to seriously contend for the championship while the Knights were among the league leaders.

The deal was made official on January 8, 2009, as Oshawa sent John, Michael Del Zotto and Darryl Borden to the Knights in exchange for Scott Valentine, Christian Thomas, Michael Zador and six draft picks.

Tavares made his debut with the Knights on January 11th against the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors. Making his return to Oshawa at the 2009 CHL Top Prospects Game as captain of Team Orr, he recorded an assist in a 6–1 win over Team Cherry, but injured his shoulder after Zack Kassian of the Peterborough Petes checked him behind the net.

On March 8, 2009, John set the OHL goal-scoring record with his 214th goal, passing the previous record held by Peter Lee. The next day, he received his third OHL Player of the Week recognition of the season.

NHLEdit

Although he was born five days after the September 15th cutoff date for eligibility in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, there was a significant effort made to allow John into the Draft.

Following his 72-goal campaign in 2006–07, his agents asked the NHL and NHL Players' Association (NHLPA) to make an exception for John similar to the one the OHL had made in 2005, but the attempt was unsuccessful and he was forced to wait until 2009 to participate in the League Entry Draft.

In October 2007, however, it was reported that then-Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager John Ferguson, Jr., had offered the 17-year-old John a spot with the team's American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Toronto Marlies. Like the NHL, however, the AHL declined to amend its by-laws and he subsequently returned to the OHL.

The NHL International Scouting Services ranked John as the top draft prospect in the world, ahead of defenceman Victor Hedman, forward Magnus Paajarvi and forward Matt Duchene in its March 2009 update.

The 2009 draft class was led by John (who was taken first overall by the New York Islanders).

On July 15, 2009, John signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Islanders. His first NHL game was in the pre-season in a game against the Edmonton Oilers. He spent 22 minutes and 50 seconds on the ice alongside linemates Doug Weight and Sean Bergenheim during the Islanders' 3–2 loss.

Weight (a veteran NHLer) said that, "John's going to be a big piece of [an Islander rebuilding effort]."

John scored his first career NHL goal and assist in his first ever professional game, scoring on a backhander against Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins on October 3, 2009.

John led NHL rookies in scoring throughout much of his first season. In December 2009, he scored five consecutive Islanders goals over a four-game span to tie the club record for most consecutive goals by one player. He scored an empty-net goal against the Atlanta Thrashers on December 3, and both Islanders goals on both December 9 against the Philadelphia Flyers and December 10 against Toronto.

The record was originally set by Bryan Trottier, when he scored five consecutive goals in a 1982 game against Philadelphia. At the end of the season, Tavares finished second in rookie scoring, behind Matt Duchene, with a total of 54 points.

As New York opened up their season at home against the Dallas Stars on October 9, 2010, John suffered a mild concussion late during the first period. The Stars' Adam Burish bumped into John and the latter was unable to return to the game.

John scored his first career hat-trick on October 23, 2010 in a loss to the Florida Panthers. He then scored his second career hat-trick as well as his first career natural hat-trick on January 15, 2011, in a win against the Buffalo Sabres.

On September 14, 2011, John signed a six-year, $33 million extension with the Islanders. He is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in July 2018. After being held pointless in the first two games of the 2011–12 season, he had back-to-back four-point games against the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers.

From December 29, 2011, to January 21, 2012, John had 21 points in a 12-game point streak, seven of which were multi-point games. He was selected to play in the 2012 NHL All-Star Game.

In his first career All-Star Game, John recorded one goal and one assist. Additionally, during the 2011–12 season, he was named as an alternate captain for New York.

John played with Mark Streit in Switzerland for SC Bern while the 2012–13 NHL lockout took place. During the shortened 2012–13 season, he was third in the NHL with 28 goals. He helped the Islanders reach the playoffs for the first time since 2007, scoring 47 points in 48 games.

He was also named a finalist for the 2013 Hart Memorial Trophy, awarded to the NHL's most valuable player on May 10, 2013.

John scored his first career NHL playoff goal against Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-André Fleury in Game 3 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He would finish with three goals and five points in six games as the Islanders were ultimately eliminated by the Penguins.

On September 10, 2013, John was introduced as the 14th captain in New York Islanders history, replacing former Islander Mark Streit of the Philadelphia Flyers, who served as team captain since 2011.

On February 19, 2014, during the 2014 Winter Olympics, John suffered a torn medial collateral ligament (MCL) and a torn meniscus in his knee during the quarterfinal game against Latvia, forcing him to miss the remainder of the Olympics as well as the remainder of the Islanders' season.

At the time of his injury, he was third in the NHL with 66 points in 59 games. The following season, he was selected for the 2015 NHL All-Star Game, along with teammate Jaroslav Halák.

John finished the 2014–15 NHL season as runner up for the Art Ross Trophy with 86 points, one point behind Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn.

On April 19, 2015, John scored 15 seconds into overtime against Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2015 playoffs.

The goal (which gave the Islanders a 2–1 victory) was the first game-winning overtime goal in the playoffs for the Islanders since 1993. Despite this, however, the Capitals won the series in seven games.

John scored the first regular season goal for the Islanders at Barclays Center in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks during the first game of the 2015-16 NHL season.

On March 12, 2016, he scored the 200th goal of his NHL career against the Boston Bruins.

On April 24, 2016, Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Florida Panthers, trailing 1-0 in the final minute of play assisted by Nikolay Kulemin and Nick Leddy), John scored the game tying goal off a loose puck in the crease with 53.2 seconds left in regulation. He finished the job by scoring the series-clinching goal in double overtime, winning a playoff series for the Islanders for the first time since 1993.

Career StatisticsEdit

Regular season and playoffsEdit

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2004–05 Toronto Marlboros GTHL 72 91 67 158
2004–05 Milton Icehawks OPJHL 20 13 15 28 10
2005–06 Oshawa Generals OHL 65 45 32 77 72
2006–07 Oshawa Generals OHL 67 72 62 134 60 9 7 12 19 6
2007–08 Oshawa Generals OHL 59 40 78 118 69 15 3 13 16 20
2008–09 Oshawa Generals OHL 32 26 28 54 32
2008–09 London Knights OHL 24 32 18 50 22 14 10 11 21 8
2009–10 New York Islanders NHL 82 24 30 54 22
2010–11 New York Islanders NHL 79 29 38 67 53
2011–12 New York Islanders NHL 82 31 50 81 26
2012–13 SC Bern NLA 28 17 25 42 28
2012–13 New York Islanders NHL 48 28 19 47 18 6 3 2 5 4
2013–14 New York Islanders NHL 59 24 42 66 40
2014–15 New York Islanders NHL 82 38 48 86 46 7 2 4 6 2
2015–16 New York Islanders NHL 78 33 37 70 38 11 6 5 11 6
NHL totals 510 207 264 471 243 24 11 11 22 12

InternationalEdit

Year Team Event Result GP G A Pts PIM
2006 Canada U18 4th 7 2 3 5 4
2007 Canada SS Template:Goca 8 1 8 9 26
2008 Canada WJC Template:Goca 7 4 1 5 2
2009 Canada WJC Template:Goca 6 8 7 15 0
2010 Canada WC 7th 7 7 0 7 6
2011 Canada WC 5th 7 5 4 9 12
2012 Canada WC 5th 8 4 5 9 12
2014 Canada Oly Template:Goca 4 0 0 0 0
2016 Canada WCH Template:Goca 6 1 3 4 0
Junior totals 28 15 19 34 32
Senior totals 32 17 12 29 30

International PlayEdit

During John's rookie season in the OHL, he competed for Team Ontario in the 2006 World U-17 Hockey Challenge in Saskatchewan as a 15-year-old, but failed to medal.

Later that year, at the end of the 2005–06 season, he was selected to join Canada's under-18 team for the 2006 IIHF World U18 Championships in Sweden, but failed to medal once more, falling to the Czech Republic in the bronze medal game.

Later in the off-season, he was invited to the under-18 team's summer training camp to prepare for the 2006 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, though an injury ultimately prevented him from participating.

During the following season, John was invited to Canada's national junior selection camp in preparation for the 2007 World Junior Championships, but was not named to the final roster.

However, after completing his second OHL season, he was named to the Canada's junior team for the 2007 Super Series against Russian junior players. He scored four goals and one assist as Canada won the series 7–0–1.

John earned another invite to the selection camp for the 2008 World Junior Championships and made the final roster for the tournament on his second attempt. He scored four goals to help Canada to its fourth-straight gold medal in the competition.

Returning the next year (along with Zach Boychuk, P.K. Subban and Thomas Hickey) from the previous year's gold medal-winning team, John was selected to compete in the 2009 World Junior Championships in Ottawa. He scored three points in the first round-robin game against the Czech Republic, an 8–1 win, and was named Player of the Game.

In the final round-robin game against the United States, John scored a hat-trick for his 12th career goal of the tournament to tie Eric Lindros and Jeff Carter for the all-time Canadian junior record. In doing so, he helped propel Canada to a 7–4 win that gave them the top spot in their pool and a subsequent bye to the tournament semifinal. He was also named Player of the Game for the second time in the tournament for his performance on the night.

Meeting Russia in the semifinal and down 5–4 with less than ten seconds left in regulation, John fought off two Russian players along the boards and backhanded a shot towards the goal. The shot was blocked by defenceman Dmitri Kulikov a few feet in front of the net, but after the puck came loose, teammate Jordan Eberle retrieved it and sent it into the right side of the net to dramatically tie the game with 5.4 seconds left.

Then, as the game was forced into a shootout, John scored to put Canada up 2–0 in the tie-breaker and into the gold medal game against Sweden. Recording an assist in the final, he helped Canada defeat the Swedes 5–1 to capture their fifth-straight gold medal.

John finished the tournament with eight goals and seven assists for 15 points in six games, second only to teammate Cody Hodgson in tournament scoring. He was also named one of the top three players on the Canadian team by its coaching staff as well as a tournament All-Star, Top Forward and MVP.

As the New York Islanders failed to qualify for the playoffs in John's rookie season in the NHL, he was selected to the Canadian men's team for the 2010 IIHF World Championship in Germany. Canada General Manager Mark Messier made a specific effort to assemble a young team; as a result, he was one of five teenagers on the final roster.

With seven goals in seven games, John led all tournament players in goal-scoring. Despite recording no assists, he ranked fifth in points. He helped Canada to the quarterfinal against Russia, where they were defeated 5–2.

The following year, John returned to the national team for the 2011 IIHF World Championship in Slovakia. He improved to nine points over seven games with five goals and four assists to lead Canada in scoring; he ranked fifth among all tournament players for the second consecutive year.

As Canada again reached the quarterfinal, they were eliminated once more by Russia, losing 2–1. John was chosen by coaches as one of the three best players on Team Canada, along with defenceman Alex Pietrangelo and forward Andrew Ladd.

John played for SC Bern in Switzerland during the 2012–13 NHL lockout and quickly became the PostFinance Top Scorer, tallying 42 points—including 17 goals—in just 28 games. He also played for Team Canada at the 2012 Spengler Cup, which the nation ultimately won after defeating HC Davos in the final.

At the 2014 Winter Olympics, John injured his knee in Canada's quarterfinal match, rendering him unable to play for the remainder of the tournament as well as the 2013–14 NHL season.

AccoladesEdit

Major junior
Award Year
Jack Ferguson Award 2005
Emms Family Award 2006
CHL Rookie of the Year 2006
Red Tilson Trophy 2007
CHL Player of the Year 2007
Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy 2009
International
Award Year
World Junior All-Star Team 2009
World Junior Top Forward 2009
World Junior MVP 2009

Playing StyleEdit

John has been praised by his coaches for his ability to anticipate the play since he joined the OHL. A lack of speed had been the most common criticism of his play, something he spent his junior career attempting to improve.

John's skating speed is something he greatly improved since turning professional and his speed is no longer considered an issue on the ice.

The media hype that he has encountered has led him to remain guarded when speaking to the media while his teammates and family attempt to shield him from the spotlight where they can.

However, John is regarded as a natural leader on the ice and a player who puts his team first. The Oshawa Generals named Tavares their team captain in 2008, while he also served as the alternate captain with the Canadian junior team in 2009.

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