FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- The lone benefit of finishing last in the NHL standings in 2008-09 was the New York Islanders' ability to select John Tavares with the No. 1 selection at the 2009 NHL Draft.
With each passing season since, Tavares has gotten better. He was a Hart Trophy finalist last season, and he helped the Islanders return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs after a six-year hiatus. That's why it was no surprise when he was named the 14th captain in franchise history Monday during a press conference at Bethpage State Park.
"It's pretty special," said Tavares, who replaces Mark Streit as captain after the veteran defenseman was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in June. "You understand the responsibility, but at the same time, I don't think too much will change. I'm not going to try and force anything. It's a great group, and being here with the guys, it just feels like we're back to normal. So many familiar faces … a few new guys, but guys that are going to fit in really well. The group's really growing together nicely, so I don't think the feel or the atmosphere of our guys, or the naming of me captain, is going to change a whole lot."