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Thursday, December 01, 2011

Isles 40 in 40 -- #33

Isles 40 in 40 -- #33

In honor of the Isles 40th anniversary year, I've put together a list of the Top 40 moments in club history.  I'll go through them throughout the season, bit by bit.

June 26, 2009  -- Islanders Select John Tavares

The 2008-09 season went poorly for the Islanders, so poorly that they finished last overall with a record of 26-47-9.
However, the Isles did win the 2009 Entry Draft Lottery and with it, the right to choose first in that year's Entry Draft.

Going into the lottery, it seemed like the top candidates were John Tavares, a Canadian-born center, and Victor Hedman, a Swedish defender.
As the spring wore on, a third candidate materialized. Matt Duchene, also a Canadian-born center.

The summer was full of intrigue, but it was clear who the fans wanted.  The fans wanted Tavares.  However, heading into the entry draft that evening, nobody outside of the organization was quite sure who the Islanders would choose.

Garth Snow ended the summer of speculation:

Hedman would then go to Tampa Bay and Duchene to Colorado.  All three have had solid starts to their careers.  To date, only Tavares has not appeared in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

However, that is far from being Tavares' fault, who scored 24 goals and added 30 assists as an 19 year old rookie, and improved to 29 goals and 38 assists in his second year.

Tavares got off to a blazing start in October, 2011 and while he suffered through a goal-less streak in November as the team suffered, other parts of his game, including face-offs, continued to improve.

Tavares proved his commitment to the team in September 2011 when he signed a six-year contract extension that will keep him an Islander through the 2017-18 season.

The Islanders of generations ago had players like Bossy and Trottier.  This current group has a leader in John Tavares, already an alternate captain, and likely the next captain of this team.

His future is ahead of him, and hopefully when we do Isles 50 in 50 in 2021-22 there will be a number of additional moments that carry his name.

For now, the promise is the future, and the future is John Tavares.  Good enough for #33 on the Isles 40 in 40 list.

The List to Date:
#33 -- June 26, 2009  -- Islanders Select John Tavares
#34 -- May, 1982-- Bossy leads the Isles to 3rd Stanley Cup
#35 -- January 6,1981 --With Bossy Chasing 50, Tonelli Lights Up the Leafs
#36 -- January 18, 1973 -- Expansion Isles Beat the Champs
#37 -- November 28, 1979 -- Billy Smith is credited with a goal
#38 -- December 23, 1978 -- Trottier re-writes the record book
#39 -- February 11, 2011 -- Isles pound Pens 9-3
#40 -- Summer 2001 -- Isles hire Laviolette, trade for Peca and Yashin, claim Osgood.
March 16, 2010 -- Tavares' 5-point game.
February 13, 2011 -- Grab-Trick. 
March 31, 1990 -- Uwe, Uwe. 

Like any of these lists, my #2 may be your #20...
Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: NYISkinny.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

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