John Tavares

Nabokov: I think Tavares is ready to be captain


Since John Tavares was taken by the New York Islanders with the first overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft he has been the face of the franchise. Over the last two seasons he’s also established himself as one of the best forwards in the NHL and with former captain Mark Streit gone, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Islanders name Tavares as their team captain.

Nothing has been announced yet and given that Tavares is still just 22 years old, there might be a bit of hesitation, but he definitely has some strong supporters.

“I think he’s ready,” 38-year-old goaltender Evgeni Nabokov told Newsday. “We knew last year that he was a leader, not just on the ice. He’s not extremely vocal, but he’s vocal when he needs to be. He’s a very mature guy for 22, and he’s our superstar.”

It helps that Tavares is a guy that can lead by example, and not just because of his offensive numbers, but also due to the work he puts into honing his craft. Tavares has an offseason training program that impresses his peers, such as Islanders forward Kyle Okposo, who wants to avoid another slow start this season.

“It really started clicking with me that I needed to take that next step, and Johnny ups his game every year,” Okposo said. “So we talked a lot about a bunch of different things, and I found someone to help me with some on-ice things the final month of the season. It’s no coincidence that was when I had my best games.”

Okposo and two young Islanders forwards, Ryan Strome and Casey Cizikas, also joined Tavares for a week of training this summer.

“We’ve got a good group of guys and they all know how hard John works at all aspects of his game,” Islanders GM Garth Snow said. “It’s no surprise to me that some of the guys want to train the way he does.”

When asked about the possibility of being named the team captain, Tavares emphasized the importance of everyone working together. After all, while he would consider it a great honor to wear the “C,” his goal is to help the team take another step forward after his first NHL playoff run.

‘Yotes return Dylan Strome to OHL

Dylan Strome, Nikita Nikitin
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The Arizona Coyotes have returned Dylan Strome to the Erie Otters of the OHL.

Strome, 18, was the third overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft.

The 6’3, 185 pounder was hoping to stick with the Coyotes this season, but the team decided to take the conservative approach with their top prospect.

Strome will look to build off an incredible junior season that saw him score 45 goals and 129 points in 68 games.

Strome seems to be taking the demotion in stride.

The team also announced that they’ve assigned goaltender Louis Domingue and forward Matthias Plachta to their AHL affiliate in Springfield.

Domingue, 23, had a 1-2-1 record with a 2.73 goals-against-average and a .911 save percentage in seven games last season.

Plachta, a free agent signing, will begin his first pro season in North America. The 24-year-old had 14 goals and 35 points in the German League last season.


Detroit places Datsyuk and three others on I.R.

Pavel Datsyuk,
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The Red Wings have placed Pavel Datsyuk, Darren Helm, Danny DeKeyser and Alexey Marchenko on injured reserve.

Placing these players on I.R. opens up four more roster spots for Detroit.

The Red Wings have suffered an incredibe amount of injuries heading into the season.

Datsyuk (ankle) is expected to be out until November.

DeKeyser (foot) is going to miss three-to-four weeks, while Helm (concussion) and Marchenko (lower-body) are considered day-to-day.

The team also announced that they have reduced their training camp roster to 27 players on Sunday.

Top prospect Dylan Larkin remains in camp for now.

Coach Jeff Blashill told reporters that the 19-year-old has looked good, but a final decision hasn’t been made on where he will play this year.

As for Larkin, he’s just fed up of living in a hotel.

“There’s been so much speculation and so many questions, and no one really knows,” said Larkin. “Maybe the coaches know, but just to find out where I’ll be living or what’s happening — I’m kind of sick of the hotel. It would be nice to know what’s going on.”