On Monday, he was named the seventh best center in the NHL by Sportsnet, who used all kinds of fancy maths to tell us what we already know.
When Tavares was in junior the big knock on him was his skating ability, but you would never guess that when looking at the player he's become. Nearly as offensively potent as Seguin, Tavares leads all centres in individual scoring chances, is one of the most efficient transition players out there, and regularly dekes players out of their skates. He's still no stalwart on the defensive side, but that barely matters when you're as good as he is.
Then on Tuesday, he was listed a few times on Bovada’s odds for NHL Awards, including getting 10/1 odds as winning the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP. Please forgive my self-embedding.
Bovada also sets the odds for Tavares winning the Art Ross Trophy as the league’s leading scorer at 17/2, and at 14/1 for him winning the "Rocket" Richard Trophy for leading the league in goals. I only understand maybe half of that sentence, but at least he’s in there.
Finally, Tavares returned to Islanders practice this week, although it remains to be seen if he’ll get into a preseason game. The team has two exhibittion games left - against the Devils tonight in Newark and against the Capitals in Washington on Sunday.
Fortunately, he’s still riding the high of winning the World Cup with Team Canada and is already primed and ready to go, according to Arthur Staple of Newsday:
"I played nine games in a best-on-best tournament, at that pace, physically you’re as ready as you can be," Tavares said on Tuesday after his first Isles practice of the season. "Now it’s about making sure you get enough rest, maintaining that level and trying to build some chemistry, getting back to our systems here and the role you’re playing here.
Tavares also talks about his chemistry at the World Cup with linemates Steven Stamkos and Ryan Getzlaf. I hope in all their time together this Spring, Getzlaf finally apologized for calling Tavares, "Jonathan" at the 2015 All Star Game Draft. C'mon, man.
Anyway, even if Tavares doesn't get into a preseason game, he can always warm up on his sweet backyard shooting deck before the season opener on October 13.