John Tavares
Photo credit: RDS

Analyst reveals the real problem with Leafs captain John Tavares

Published February 29, 2024 at 12:11

Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares has been the epitome of a consistent scorer since debuting in the league during the 2009-2010 season. Tavares has averaged around a point per game for over thirteen seasons now, taking that form to Toronto when he signed during the summer of 2018.

The 2023-24 season has been oddity for Tavares, who has seen his points drop off along with his role on the team. In 56 games this season, Tavares has scored 17 goals and 43 points. Tavares was recently demoted to the second-unit power-play because the first unit started having success with winger Tyler Bertuzzi taking over Tavares place. He's also skating on the 3rd line with Bobby McMann and Nicholas Robertson.

Former Maple Leaf and current TSN analyst Mike Johnson indicated on Thursday that the problem with Tavares may actually have nothing to do with his play, but that he may be struggling because he's playing through an injury.

"I think you clearly saw some physical discomfort. When you are grimacing, having your head down on the bench on almost every other shift. When John Tavares, who is not a lightning fast skater, lacks a bit of explosiveness in tight areas which has led to trouble... I think Tavares is both in pain and frustrated because his body is prohibiting him from doing what he wanted to do on the ice. We saw him go through a really long slump where he struggled to score a five on five goal. I stand beside him during games. You never see him emote that frustration. In the game on Tuesday, many times he was shaking his head, and smashed his stick. It's obvious that he is frustrated and there is something going on."

The 33-year-old missed two games earlier in February with what Keefe described as pretty minor injury. Since returning, Tavares has scored three points in six games, but if he's truly still dealing with something, the captain could benefit from some time off to fully recover so he is ready to go for the playoffs when they begin in April.
February 29   |   911 answers
Analyst reveals the real problem with Leafs captain John Tavares

Are the Leafs capable of winning a Stanley Cup with John Tavares as captain?

Yes, John is a good captain48353 %
No, John has never been a winner in the NHL18420.2 %
I guess we'll know after this season and next24426.8 %
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