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Top 25 Islanders Under 25: #1 is...

63 goals, 83 assists and counting...
63 goals, 83 assists and counting...

...John Tavares.

I mean, duh.

A memory trip, and our full Top 25 Islanders Under 25 listing follows:

One of the personally rewarding things about blogging is being able to go back and remind yourself what an idiot you were. Another is stumbling upon when things were bleaker. Sometimes you get both, like in this comparison of Top 5 Islanders Prospect lists from summer 2009. (Yes, apparently I thought Jesse Joensuu had a good shot to become a regular.)

There was also that time in February 2009, when thoughts wandered toward Tavares or Victor Hedman? The scoring star or the cornerstone defenseman?

By draft day, I and many were voting for Tavares (though Garth Snow kept media experts guessing three different ways), the Tavares voters got our wish in a big way, and we ended up wondering how a young Scott Gordon would handle Tavares vs. how Al Arbour handled the young Denis Potvin. Even then, the risk of Gordon not lasting until Tavares' bloom was clear, as the coaches for previous famous #1 picks have gotten the ax.

(Had the Islanders passed on Tavares, there was this helpful fan safety guide for what to do next.)

Oh, and while we're on the 2009 and U25 topic, we did mock drafts at the time with other SB Nation hockey blogs. For the Isles' second pick, we polled readers. Finishing first was Jeremy Morin. Second? Calvin De Haan (followed closely by Tim Erixon). Of course, that was before the Islanders traded up.

Anyway, so far so good. I've no idea how good Tavares will eventually become, but I know he's already fun to watch, for many reasons on display in the videos below. But before the highlights, here's our final list as polled in September. Thanks for all who helped. We'll do it again soon and enjoy how much it's changed.

How We Voted in September

We tallied votes from a panel of six for this exercise back in September, before training camp opened. Opinions will change -- have already changed -- over the course of this season, but obviously this last one didn't cause much dissension:

Top 25 Under 25 mikb M11 CIL Dom KQ Mark
John Tavares
1 1
For this first edition, we polled LHH authors Keith, WebBard (Mark D), mikb, myself, and two particularly prospect-focused LHH regulars, CanadianIslesLifer and MatthewM11. We wanted enough to get a decent number of voters but not so much that we make the first run unwieldy. It is absolutely unscientific but with varied enough votes to get us thinking about who are the best hockey players now, balanced with who has the best potential/value long-term.

Previous Posts in This Top 25 Islanders Under 25 Series

The Top 25 under 25 is an idea conceived by Oilers blog Copper & Blue and copied elsewhere, incorporated here by popular demand. We cut it off at players who were under 25 going into this season, so Andrew MacDonald, having just turned 25 this month, barely misses eligibility.

Now, on to the Tavares highlight candy:

The Passing

Goodness, the passing:

The Moves

Phone Booth OT Winner

And of Course, the Fighting

Just like they billed him at the draft. A goon:

Here's to many more years of all that.