Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos — the first overall pick in 2008 — tallied 23 goals and 23 assists in 79 games as a rookie. He was not worth owning in most fantasy formats. His overall stats fell somewhere south of what you’d want from a No. 2 center.
Of course, there were stretches when Stamkos produced like a No. 2 center: between February 24 and April 11, he amassed 13 goals and eight assists in 22 games.
In his final minor league season with the Sarnia Sting in 2007-08, Stamkos scored a whopping 105 points (58 goals, 47 assists) in 61 games. These numbers are eerily similar to Tavares’ stats this past season with the Oshawa Generals and London Knights: a combined 104 points (58 goals, 46 assists) in 56 games.
So: slight edge to Tavares, but not enough so that you’d expect him to drastically outproduce Stamkos’ rookie numbers.
The verdict: at a position as deep as center, you are taking a severe risk by drafting Tavares for your fantasy team. He has no track record of piling up penalty minutes, and his +/- may be brutal if he ends up playing for the New York Islanders. Unless you are in a keeper league, steer clear of Tavares until the final few rounds.
Forecast for Tavares: 81 games, 31 goals, 21 assists, -10, 46 PIMS.
photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons