Photos: CBC.ca and 4SportKeeper.com
John Tavares is tearing up the World Junior Championships this year. He had four points in Canada's 15-0 blowout victory against Kazakhstan today and will likely go first overall in next year's NHL entry draft. He has frequently been called "The Next One."
Obviously he is not the first to have been given this moniker.
Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby came into the NHL with similar hype. So how do the two players compare?
Tavares has won the CHL Player of the Year award, the OHL's Most Oustanding Player award and the CHL and OHL Rookie of the Year awards. He was a member of the OHL's First All-Star Team and OHL's First All-Rookie Team.
In order to be drafted to the OHL at the age of 14 (rather than 16) he became the first player ever to be granted "exceptional player" status by the league.
Sidney Crosby had his share of junior hockey awards as well.
Crosby was named CHL Player of the Year, QMJHL Most Valuable Player and was named Rookie of the Year in both the QMJHL and CHL. Crosby also won the scoring race in both the CHL and QMJHL along with being named to the All-Rookie Team and All-Star Team in both leagues.
In Tavares' best junior season thus far, he scored 72 goals and added 62 assists for 134 points. Crosby's best year was his final year in the QMJHL when he scored 66 goals and 102 assists for 168 points. Tavares is currently in his final year in the OHL. He currently has 25 goals, 27 assists and 52 points in 31 games. Crosby's best season saw him score 2.7 points per game. Tavares' is currently on a at 1.7 points per game pace.
However, the QMJHL is generally a higher scoring league. In the past ten years the CHL scoring champion has come from the QMJHL eight times.
So will John Tavares have the same degree of success in the NHL that Sidney Crosby has? That remains to be seen.
Several other players have been called "The Next One" and have not taken the league by storm (Eric Lindros and especially Alexandre Daigle come to mind.) Not all players who have had success in the CHL see that success translate to the NHL. Corey Locke, Simon Gamache and Ramzi Abid led the CHL in scoring, but did not make significant impacts in the NHL.
Tavares' success will also depend on the team that choses him. If he is drafted to a team that is dedicated to rebuilding and will surround him with players that will help him grow, he will be much more likely to succeed. If he is expected to come into the NHL and immediately carry a weak team, there is a chance he will stuggle.
Tavares will also have an age advantage when he enters the NHL. He missed the cutoff date for the 2008 entry draft by just five days and he will be 19 when he plays his first NHL game. Sidney Crosby played his first game at the age of 18. Tavares is also a slightly larger player and this, combined with his age, should make his transition to the NHL an easier one.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
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