The words “roster changes” were said, and John Tavares’ eyes lit up.

Without any more prompting, the Islanders all-world center went straight for the position that has plagued his franchise for almost two decades.

“I think obviously goaltending was a big thing,” Tavares told The Post on Tuesday at an NHL event at a Newark high school, his team having signed starter Jaroslav Halak to a four-year, $18 million deal, and added established backup Chad Johnson on a two-year, $2.6 million deal.

“To have those two guys set and to know that our goaltending situation is settled there,” Tavares said, “it’s really the first time it’s been like that since I’ve been here.”

If that wasn’t enough to make Tavares happy, general manager Garth Snow also added some talent up front to skate alongside him, inking the former dynamic duo from the Maple Leafs in Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin, both to four-year deals worth a combined $36.75 million.

“They obviously played really well together,” Tavares said, noting that in the 2010-11 season, while playing on the same line in Toronto, they scored 29 and 30 goals, respectively. “They know each other well, and they have good chemistry.”

Then Tavares went ahead and made the type of declaration that is often only made in the offseason.
“Our depth up front is right up there with a lot of the teams in the league, especially down the middle,” he said, with some combination of Frans Nielsen, Brock Nelson, Ryan Strome and Casey Cizikas following him at center on the depth chart. “So it’s going to be great competition. It’s going to be very competitive, this training camp. We’ll push one another.”

Though almost all of the players are back on Long Island and are taking part in informal skates, the official start of training camp is Sept. 18, with the first on-ice activities coming the following day. It also will be a relief for the organization to see Tavares back wearing an Isles sweater, considering the last time he did so was before the Olympic break. During those Olympics, he tore the MCL and meniscus in his left knee while playing for Team Canada.