New York Islanders Mathew Barzal “Star-Struck” In 2016-2017

By Matt O'Leary
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 26: Mathew Barzal
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 26: Mathew Barzal /

New York Islanders prospect Mathew Barzal admitted to being a “little star-struck” in his two game stint with the team in 2016-2017.

Mathew Barzal didn’t last too long in the 2016-2017 NHL season with the New York Islanders. His legacy from his two game stint last year wasn’t dynamic play, unfortunately. Instead, it was a mishap that was rather embarrassing.

Barzal played the puck while still in the penalty box, thus receiving another penalty and another two-minutes of embarrassment to boot. We saw very little of Barzal after that as he was sent back to Seattle after two appearances.

Although he recently admitted that he felt a “little star-struck” last year.  Here’s what he told NHL.com:

"“Last year, I was maybe a little star-struck sometimes playing against [Nicklas] Backstrom and [Alex] Ovechkin and those guys,” Barzal recently told NHL.com. “This year, I just want to hopefully come in and not kind of feel that, just feel like I belong and that I can really play with those guys.”"

As much as we like to think of these guys as world class athletes and scoring machines, they are human. He was playing in the league at 19 years-old. I’m two years older than him and I know if I was playing against Backstrom and Ovechkin I’d certainly have the same feeling.

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Hopefully, for his sake, his year with Seattle has helped him mature and realize that he’s deserving of playing with these guys because he’s that talented of a hockey player.

I do expect Barzal to make the team this year, and since there seems to be no Matt Duchene trade in sight he will likely play a significant role on the team.

Next: 2016-2017 Wish List Fell Short

This year should be a showcase for Mat, we’ve heard about him for so long hopefully the Isles let him put that talent on display. In ten years I’m sure some 19-year-old will be having the same feelings about playing with Barzal that he had playing against other stars.