New York Islanders Mathew Barzal Potential Outcomes For 2017-18

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 08: Mathew Barzal
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 08: Mathew Barzal /
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MONTREAL, QC – JANUARY 05: Mathew Barzal
MONTREAL, QC – JANUARY 05: Mathew Barzal /

Playing The Wing

It’s the New York Islanders M.O. Playing a promising young center on the wing in his first year in the NHL. They did it to Ryan Strome when he started in the league in 2013-14 and they did it to Anthony Beauvillier just last season. It’s just what they do.

To be fair they aren’t the only ones. The Montreal Canadiens have just recently started playing Alex Galchenyuk at center this season. Four years after starting in the NHL.

NHL teams are risk averse. Their natural conservatism tells them that it’s better for a kid to learn in a less vital position, like the wing, rather than make a ton of mistakes where it matters most.

It’s an incredibly flawed line of reasoning. There isn’t a better way to learn the speed and flow of an NHL game than doing it from a strong fundamental position. Taking a player out of his standard position removes all elements of comfort and sets the player back rather than propel him forward.

Which means a combination of Brock Nelson and or Anthony Beauvillier will play center in lines number two and three. Not the greatest of options when you think about it. I rather like Beauvillier, but I liked him as a winger rather than a center.

Maybe he proves me wrong and turns out to be a great option for the Isles, and we don’t actually need Mathew Barzal at center right away. He can ready himself on the wing and take the leap in 2018-19.