There is a reason why Ryan Pulock has not played in a game this season. It is because of Scott Mayfield. Mayfield has given the New York Islanders exactly what they need: stability in the defensive zone and physicality.
Scott Mayfield has been trying to sneak into the New York Islanders everyday lineup for years. All it took was a new coach, and he is quietly turning into one of the Isles best defensemen. Under Doug Weight, Mayfield has developed nicely and is becoming a top-six defenseman over Ryan Pulock and Dennis Seidenberg.
Last season, Mayfield thrived under Weight, putting up nine points in only 25 games for the New York Islanders. If he averaged those numbers over a full, 82-game season, he would be on pace for 30 points. He played well with Adam Pelech, and showed the Islanders he could make a serious impact over a full season.
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To put the icing on the cake, the Islanders were 17-7-1 when Mayfield was in the lineup. That is a crazy stat.
Mayfield did have a rough preseason, however. Some were saying a defenseman should be traded or waived, and it seemed like Mayfield would be the most likely candidate. It seemed like carrying an extra forward made sense instead of having eight defensemen on the roster.
But Weight stuck to his gut. He decided Scott Mayfield deserved a spot on this team, and after scratching him on opening night in a game in which the New York Islanders looked terrible, Mayfield has played great.
A Surprising Start
Scott Mayfield has been playing on a pair with Thomas Hickey this season, and both players have been taking big steps to become a great duo for the Islanders. Both are complimenting each other well, and they have become one of Doug Weight’s favorite pairings this year.
Mayfield has been a +2 thus far this season, and he has chipped in offensively with an assist. He’s been faster than ever, and he has worked on his positioning and puck movement as well. The Islanders have also not given up an even strength goal with Mayfield on the ice.
According to Hockey Reference, Scott Mayfield point share (an estimate of the number of points contributed by a player) is 0.3. The New York Islanders have 5 points, so that means that 6% of the Islanders points are coming from a bottom pairing d-man. Pretty good.
Arthur Staple has noticed. When responding to a critic, he went as far as to say Mayfield has been the best defenseman for the Islanders this season, and it is hard to disagree.
When Arthur Staple makes a claim like that, you know he is serious. So good for Mayfield for earning that type of attention from the Islanders’ beat writer.
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Ryan Pulock is not playing because he is bad. He is not playing because Doug Weight has better options, and the Islanders have a better chance to win games when Pulock is in the press box.
Pulock may add a much-needed element to the power-play, but Mayfield adds so much more. Weight is realizing this, and it has enabled Mayfield to strive.
If Mayfield keeps this up and there are no injuries, Pulock may not get into a game for a while. Islanders’ fans may not be happy, but they need to realize that it is for the better.
Scott Mayfield is what the New York Islanders need. His play thus far has been terrific, and if he keeps it up, who knows what will happen? Maybe, he’ll play 70 games this year. Maybe, he’ll make the all-star team. Maybe, he’ll win the Norris (just a joke, although it would be nice).
Who knows? The sky is the limit for Scott Mayfield.