As most teams have played six or seven games and the rust has shaken off, we are starting to see who is performing up to standards and who is either exceeding or falling short of our expectations. Although most expected an improvement, New York Islanders captain John Tavares is one of those players exceeding our expectations early. In fact, the only person scoring at a higher pace in the NHL right now is Toronto sniper Phil Kessel (Kessel is on pace to score 164 points while Tavares is on pace to score 137).
Tavares, who joined the lowly Islanders immediately after being drafted first overall in 2009, scored a respectable 54 points in his rookie campaign, followed by a 67-point effort a year ago. Now entering his third NHL season, people are wondering just how good he will be. Tavares has yet to break the 30-goal barrier, but has averaged 26.5 goals per year in his limited career. Before entering the NHL, Tavares tallied 45, 72, 40, and 58 goals respectively in his four years in the OHL, while breaking Wayne Gretzky's record of 70 goals in one OHL season along the way. While his great vision led to a 29-goal, 38-assist campaign a year ago, Tavares is a gifted goal scorer, who should have little trouble reaching the 30-goal mark this season.
In his rookie campaign, Tavares had 186 shots with a 12.9% shooting percentage. John followed that up with 243 shots at an 11.9% success rate. This year, he's shooting even more and is on pace for 300 shots on goal. If Tavares does manage to crank out a 300-shot season with a 12.5% shooting percentage, the result would be a 38-goal season. It's early, but that is pretty encouraging for Tavares owners. Last year, 38 goals would have been the sixth-highest total in the league.
In terms of Tavares' linemates, we all know the P.A Parenteau story. Okposo was injured early last season, opening the door for Parenteau to skate with Tavares, and P.A. never looked back. Heading into 2011-12, Okposo owners were hoping for Parenteau to finally be taken off the Tavares and Moulson line, giving Okposo the top-line position that seemed to be all