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Fish Sticks; Would John Tavares fit in with this Islander team?

After the Islanders won their 34th game on Sunday against the Minnesota Wild, a thought came to my head that most Islander fans have had at some point during this magical season; Would John Tavares fit on this team?

I know it’s getting beat into the ground and both the Leafs and Islanders are doing well, but it’s a legitimate thing to ask.

It’s a loaded question because the team would be constructed completely differently with him and some of the guys on this team wouldn’t be here with Tavares on board. There are valid points to both sides.

Tavares would make this team better

The stance most fans take is that John Tavares is too talented and diligent to not be a complete team player and buy into Barry Trotz’s system.

In addition, other than Mathew Barzal, Tavares would most certainly be the most dynamic player on the team. What Tavares lacks in speed he more than makes up for in stick handling and shot accuracy.

Tavares is one of the greatest Islanders in history and regardless of how poor history will treat him will always be a generational talent for this team. He on skill alone makes this team better but also would buy in and do things the right way.

Tavares would not make this team better

The other side of the coin is the more intriguing argument. It’s definitely a less popular opinion but Tavares would not make this team any better than they are.

First of all, how much better can this team be? They would have to be winning at a historic pace to catch the Lightning, and they’re already fifth overall in the NHL standings.

More importantly, isn’t part of the reason for the Islanders success the Us against the World mentality? Sure Barry Trotz is a magnificent coach but does Anders Lee block shots with his face if JT is still captain? Do the Islanders stifle their opponents as often as they do if their captain didn’t abandon them?

The last and least important factor in the argument is that Tavares leaving opened the door for role players to round out this team. Guys like Leo Komarov, Matt Martin, and Val Filppula probably wouldn’t be here if JT was still here. Maybe one of the three, but the lineup would most likely feature a Tanner Fritz or someone of that nature.

While Filppula has slowed down and Komarov is a Corsi nightmare, both players have a distinct role on this team. Matt Martin reunited with the best fourth line in hockey and every single player had a role.

Would John Tavares fit on this team? Absolutely but it doesn’t mean that the Islanders would be any better. The biggest focal point of the argument is whether or not you feel the Islanders have used his absence as extreme motivation.

His talent is incredible, he was a good leader and an even better player, but something may be missing if he was still captain of this team. Maybe JT doesn’t block a shot with his head the way Anders Lee did. We won’t ever find out but it is interesting to thing how differently this team would be constructed with Tavares at the helm.

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