Will John Tavares have an immediate fantasy impact?

Is center John Tavares worthy of fantasy hockey consideration next season?

Is center John Tavares worthy of fantasy hockey consideration next season?

By most counts, center John Tavares will be the first pick in tonight’s NHL Entry draft. Of course, the question concerning us is, What kind of fantasy impact will he have?

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

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