John Tavares' Career NLL Scoring Record Still Safe

Jim FlanneryAnalyst IFebruary 19, 2014

John Tavares in 2006, the year he became the all-time points leader in the NLL.
John Tavares in 2006, the year he became the all-time points leader in the NLL.DON HEUPEL/Associated Press

All-Star centre John Tavares of the New York Islanders is the second-most talented professional athlete named John Tavares.

His uncle, John Tavares of the Buffalo Bandits, is the all-time NLL leader for the regular season and playoffs in games played (287 regular season, 33 playoffs), goals (793, 77), assists (901, 106) and overall points (1,694, 183). He is second overall in loose balls in the regular season and playoffs (2,091, 251). And, at age 45, the veteran forward is continuing to pad his total.

This season Tavares has 14 goals and 14 assists to put him in 25th place in the NLL scoring race, with games in hand on 10 of the players ahead of him. At his current pace, he'll finish the season with 68 points, the 16th time he'll pick up 60 or more points in a season.

There are plenty of players half his age who would love to be producing at that clip.

Although the next couple of people behind him in the all-time offensive stat categories are still active, they're a long way back and unlikely to catch him.

Colin Doyle of the Toronto Rock is second all time in assists (794) and points (1,292) and is having another solid season, with 30 points in seven games so far. But he's 400 points behind Tavares, which would require him to play another five seasons after Tavares retires just to catch him, assuming he could maintain his historical norm for points per season. 

At age 37, that seems unlikely. 

Doyle might be able to catch Tavares for assists if he stays productive for a few more seasons, but even that is a long shot at this point.

Third place in overall points is held by John Grant, Jr. of the Colorado Mammoth, with 1,237. He's also third in goals with 584. Grant Jr. is also the man who broke Tavares' single-season scoring record in 2012 when he racked up 116 points, one better than the standard set by Tavares in 2001.

Grant Jr. is 39, but he's still producing at a world-class rate. This season he's leading the NLL in points (53). Still, like Doyle he's got at least five years of catching up to do to catch Tavares.

The only record that could fall is the games played record. Shawn Williams, Tavares' teammate on the Bandits, is second all-time in games played with 247 and is the league's ironman record holder, having now played in 220 straight.

He's 40 games behind Tavares, which is only a little more than two seasons of play. Although Williams, like Grant Jr., is 39 years old, he hasn't missed a game in 14 years and could catch Tavares if he stays healthy.

All in all, though, when John Tavares decides to hang up his sneakers, he'll have accumulated some career numbers that are all but unassailable in a way that virtually no other player in no other sport has ever done.


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