Tavares works on improving skills

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:08 PM ET

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- John Tavares had 24 goals as a rookie in the NHL last season.

Not bad.

But there were a few that got away, he figured.

So he spent some of this summer coming up with ways to deal with what he said was the most eye-opening thing from his rookie season and that's the quality of the goaltending.

"I realized how good the goalies are compared with junior," he told QMI Agency Monday after practice at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. "How quick they are to get across the net, how hard they battle, how they don't quit on pucks. I worked on getting my shot off quicker and making every shot count in practice, even just fooling around.

"I have a killer instinct around the net and I've always had it, but I'm stressing it even more."

Tavares is truly one of the great young talents from the blue line in and if there has been a knock on him it has been his skating. A goal this season is generating more speed through the neutral zone to give himself more time and more options.

"I worked on crossovers during the summer to generate more power and I think my overall strength and speed have come along," he said.


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