The first-period power-play marker was not only Tavares' 29th goal of the season, it was his 600th career point. The franchise center is on pace for his first point-per-game campaign since 2014-15, and not coincidentally his 20 points with the man advantage are already his highest total since that season.
Tavares recorded two power-play assists during Friday's 7-6 overtime win against Detroit.
The star center is now up to 28 goals and 34 assists through 56 games, and his 3.27 points per 60 minutes remains a high-end mark. While contract negotiations and trade talks continue to loom over Tavares' season, the pending unrestricted free agent is on track for his best offensive season since the 2014-15 campaign, and a career-best showing is also within reach.
Tavares won't be traded before the NHL trade deadline on Feb. 26, Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic reports.
General manager Garth Snow stated Thursday "I'm not trading John Tavares" to try and squash the inevitable rumors that will surface over the next few weeks. The Islanders are coming off back to back losses so there will be some who will wonder if the Isles would move Tavares should they fall out of the playoff hunt. Tavares is a free agent after the season and although Tavares seems to want to stay with the Islanders, it's a risky course of action to hold onto him and risk getting nothing for him should he bolt for greener pastures during free agency. Money won't be an issue as Tavares will have plenty of suitors who will break the bank for his services should he elect to leave Long Island. It is likely to come down to how much he believes in the direction the team is heading and how comfortable he will be with the Islanders' arena situation over the next few seasons.
Tavares scored twice and registered five shots through 23:37 of ice time (1:36 with the man advantage) during Monday's 5-4 win over Montreal.
While Tavares' future with the Islanders continues to garner frequent headlines, his numbers are fueling fantasy teams. The 27-year-old star is up to 24 goals and 54 points through 45 games this season, and he's well on his way to his best season since the 2014-15 campaign.
Tavares is in the final year of his contract and could be a free agent July 1. He has stated over and over again that his preference has been to remain with the Islanders but speculation has run rampant about his future because he and the team have yet to begin negotiations on a new deal. One of the reasons for that may have been that Tavares didn't know where the Islanders would be playing in the future but that has been solved with the team winning the rights to build a new arena next to Belmont Racetrack. Money shouldn't be an issue as ownership has not been shy about wanting Tavares to stay long term and lead the team into the new arena in 2021. Everyone is saying all the right things, but until Tavares signs a new deal, rumors will continue as to where he will end up playing next year.