What Could John Tavares' Year Two Look Like?

Our Savior?

With October four months away, without a firm grasp yet of who will or will not be on the roster, this sounds like a good time to imagine what John Tavares can do next season. The simple blinders on and ignoring all other aspects of the game way to do this is to just take the top forward in each draft since 1999 and compare his year one to his year two production. In the last ten years we have seen both greats and busts picked. Players who every year improve and players who churn out the same numbers year after year. Going through these players and their year to year situations you can't help but hopefully see a bright future for the Islanders. The last two cup winners had more then their fair share of top draft picks leading the way.

Obviously this is just going to be a really rough estimate. JT didn't have the horror of being drafted by an expansion team (Yann Danis and Joey MacDonald look like Roy compared to the Thrashers Goalies) and didn't have the luck of going to a team with two established All-Stars. The two upsides for JT were playing along with Kyle Okposo's high energy style and friend of the family Matt Moulson.

1999 #1 Patrik Stefan

GP G A Pts Team Points
Stefan Rookie 72 5 20 25 39
Stefan Y2 66 10 21 31 60
Difference
-6 +5 +1 +6 +21

 

Any improvement in the Thrashers from year one to year two probably has more to do with their signing of 36 year old Ray Ferraro, who put up his third best career points total. Ironically Stefan's second year in the NHL was his third best season out of seven NHL seasons. In fairness to Stefan, at least he gave us one of the greatest NHL Bloopers of all time before he left for Europe.

2000 #2 (grumble) Dany Heatley

GP G A Pts Team Points
Heatley Rookie 82 26 41 67 54
Heatley Y2 77 41 48 89 74
Difference -5 +15 +7 +22 +20

 

2001 #1 Ilya Kovalchuk

GP G A Pts Team Points
Kovy Rookie 65 29 22 51 54
Kovy Y2 81 38 29 67 74
Difference +16 +9 +7 +16 +20

 

I decided to pair these two together since they were both Rookies the same year. This might be the closest we can get when it comes to a comparison to JT's possible second season. Although they weren't  #1 overall picks, Okposo, Josh Bailey and even Nino Niederreiter all have the potential upside to improve the team in short order. A twenty point swing in points for the Islanders should put them in the playoffs next season.

2002 #1 Rick Nash

GP G A Pts Team Points
Nash Rookie 74 17 22 39 59
Nash Y2 80 41 16 57 54
Difference +6 +24 -6 +18 -5

 

Although his first season was kind of silent, his second season stats are insane when compared to the rest of the team. He nearly doubled the Bluejacket's 2nd highest goal total for the season (David Vyborny had 22 goals) and the team only had 5 players other then Nash break double digits. He also won the Rocket Richard Trophy that season. I wouldn't mind at all if JT grabs a trophy to make up for not getting the Calder last year.

2003 #2 Eric Staal

GP G A Pts Team Points
Staal Rookie 81 11 20 31 72
Staal Y2 82 45 55 100 112
Difference +1 +34 +35 +69 +40

 

There's one big difference here. Staal's Rookie and 2nd year were actually a year apart. Due to the strike he spent a year in the AHL. During his time in the AHL he put up a little more then a point per game in both the regular season and the playoffs. So far his second year is also his career best year by 20ish points.

2004 #1 Alex Ovechkin

GP G A Pts Team Points
Ovie Rookie 81 52 54 106 60
Ovie Y2 82 46 46 92 70
Difference +1 -6 -6 -14 +10

 

Ovie hit a bit of a Sophmore Slump. But really, there's plenty of players who wish in their best season they had 92 points. The Capitals in his Rookie year were so bad that they were Mathieu Biron's last NHL stop before playing a few seasons in the AHL and finally going to Europe. With the addition of Semin in his second year (who put up a 73 Point season that year) it took a bit of the pressure off Ovie to do everything.

2005 #1 Sidney Crosby

GP G A Pts Team Points
Crosby Rookie 81 39 63 102 58
Crosby Y2 79 36 84 120 105
Difference -2 -3 +21 +18 +47

 

Another #1 helped in his second season by the addition of a top rate first rounder (This time Evgeni Malkin the #2 overall in 04) and the continued improvement in net of Marc-Andre Fleury (1st Overall in 03). It makes you wonder what might happen to the Islanders if Rick DiPietro can return and play at his old levels.

2006 #2 Jordan Staal

GP G A Pts Team Points
Staal Rookie 81 29 13 42 105
Staal Y2 82 12 16 28 102
Difference +1 -17 +3 -14 -3

 

Staal's second year is the worst of his career by far. It might be due to the Penguins being overstocked at the center position during his second season more then anything else. Since then he has put up back to back 49 point seasons and last year led the team in +/-.

2007 #1 Patrick Kane

GP G A Pts Team Points
Kane Rookie 82 21 51 72 88
Kane Y2 80 25 45 70 104
Difference -2 +4 -6 -2 +16

 

There's not much you can say bad about Kane. Two of his three seasons he lead Chicago in points, and the only season he didn't he finished just 7 points behind Havlat. In Chicago you can even see some familiarities. Kane and Johnathon Toews were both high draft pics (1st and 3rd overall respectively), Duncan Keith a second rounder who spent time maturing in college, the WHL and AHL, and Patrick Sharp a player taken off the scrap heap after another team had given up on him.

2008 #1 Steven Stamkos

GP G A Pts Team Points
Stamkos Rookie 79 23 23 46 66
Stamkos Y2 82 51 44 95 80
Difference +3 +28 +21 +49 +14

 

What happens when team owners decide to announce who they are drafting first overall ahead of time and make a huge campaign of "Seen Stamkos?" over the summer to build up recognition in a weak market? oh and lets say the same owners decide bringing in Barry Melrose (who hadn't coached in the NHL in 14 years) with his old school mentality of players having to earn spots? Stamkos barely got any playing time in the beginning of the season. It isn't surprising to see Stamkos went on a 28 point tear in the last 34 games of his rookie year.

2009 #1 John Tavares

GP G A Pts Team Points
JT Rookie 82 24 30 54 79
JT Y2 82 33 38 71 97
Difference 0 +9 +8 +18 +18

 

Average Goals Diff = + 9.3
Average Assist Diff = + 7.7
Average Team Pts Diff = + 17.7

Both of those totals should be doable. If JT puts up 18 more points next season, we can picture some of those goals and assists making the difference in close games. Nine more wins next season doesn't seem like it should be out of the question. This is without considering that those around him will continue to get better. That's in addition to possibly adding more First Rounders to the roster. If JT came out and had an 18 point upswing from his rookie year, that would match both Crosby and Nashes year to year improvement. It would also be two points better then Kovy's year one to year two improvement. Just to add a little perspective.

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