The New York Islanders have a lot of young prospects at the forward position. Eventually the Islanders will be forced to trade some of them, or to call them up to the big club.
I think Mathew Barzal should be the prospect that the Islanders promote. He was drafted 16th overall last year by the Islanders, a pick they acquired in a trade, for Griffin Reinhart (thank you Edmonton).
Barzal is a guy you continue to hear good things about. Many believe that he has actually leapfrogged Michael Dal Colle in the prospect rankings despite being a year younger than Dal Colle.
The Islanders are going to be trying to get rid of some dead weight contracts. Nikolai Kulemin, Mikhail Grabovski, and Josh Bailey would all be candidates for the Islanders to move in order to free up some cap space.
In addition to a trade, which I still believe is necessary, I would like to see a prospect get a shot and Barzal seems to fit the bill. He put up great numbers last year with the Seattle Thunderbirds 27 goals 61 assists (88 points).
In addition to his offensive upside many scouts say that Barzal has potential to be a good two way player in the NHL. Losing Frans Nielsen in free agency definitely hurt the Islanders, but maybe, just maybe Barzal can fill that role that Nielsen had.
That’s not to be taken in a hypocritical sense. Last year I criticized Garth Snow for relying too heavily on the youth. This year he actually made some moves in free agency, and brought in some scoring threats so it isn’t fully relying on youth.
It may be asking a lot but why can’t Barzal center the third line? I think he would be a good fit. I know Capuano said that he wants Strome to center the third line but I think he’s better suited as a winger.
Barzal also has a right handed shot so I guess he could potentially be a RW also but I think I would rather Strome in that role. Some question his size and strength but it may be worth the small risk for the potential upside it could have. One trade and Barzal on the big club would have the Islanders in a nice direction for 2016-2017.