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-
1999 #1 Patrik Stefan
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
2001 #1 Ilya Kovalchuk
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.