Tavares on production: ‘You make those sacrifices to win’

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John Tavares has seven goals and 18 points in 18 games this season, which is a start 99% of the players in the NHL would love to emulate. He’s nowhere near the league’s scoring leaders though and the 24-year-old’s start can even be seen as a regression after he recorded 66 points in 59 contests last season.

He’s not focused exclusively on competing for the Art Ross Trophy though.

“The goal is to win and you make those sacrifices to win,” Tavares told Newsday. “I still think I’ve been able to produce at a pretty good rate so far. Like I’ve always said, I’m never really satisfied, so there’s always room to do more and produce more. Do I think I could be better than where I’m at now? Sure. But we’re playing good hockey, we’re doing the right things and we’ve got a good group where everyone contributes. We need everyone to have success.”

Islanders coach Jack Capuano imagines that Tavares is “a little frustrated with his production” given the forward’s extremely high standards, but Capuano likes how Tavares has played defensively.

More importantly, the Islanders don’t have to rely on Tavares to the same extent that they used to. He’s still their best player, but they have six players with at least 12 points and the team’s overall depth has been on display in its 12-6-0 start.

The only team in the Metropolitan Division with a better record than the Islanders is the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Islanders have an opportunity to change that as they’ll play against each other on Friday and Saturday.