Editorials

New York Islanders Three Biggest (Positive) Surprises in 2017-18

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders celebrates his first NHL goal at 1:15 of the second period against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on October 19, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders celebrates his first NHL goal at 1:15 of the second period against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on October 19, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 23: Mathew Barzal /

Mathew Barzal

Just like Josh Bailey, we knew Mathew Barzal was going to be good. Just not this good. And even if you knew he was going to be a point-per-game player, you didn’t think it was going to happen just yet. Not in year one.

We knew he was going to be good just based off of his junior stats. With 111 points in 104 games played, before being drafted we knew he’d be at the very least an NHL calibre player. Even though some teams that shall remain nameless – the Boston Bruins – though that three other players were worth selection over Barzal.

He then added another 167 points in 99 games between 2015 and 2017. So what’s the surprise exactly?

We didn’t expect him to be running the table on rookie scoring. With 35 points on the season he’s tied for 19th in the league and first amongst rookies. One point ahead of Brock Boeser in Vancouver.

His play has completely redefined the New York Islanders attack. With his play, the Isles now have two dominant attacking lines. Whereas before, the bulk of the offence fell to John Tavares and the two wingers that had to keep up with him.

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