Barzal Has Not Hit A Wall
Remember Arizona Coyotes Clayton Keller? And how people thought he could challenge for the Calder trophy at the start of the season? He burst out of the gate scoring ten goals in his first 13 games. But since, he’s added four. That’s four in his next 34 games.
Keller hit that rookie wall that most go through. Teams scout them and eventually figure out how to stop them, or players just start giving them the respect they deserve on the ice and the chances they once had all but disappear.
That hasn’t happened for New York Islanders rookie Mathew Barzal.
In 47 games played the former first-round pick that Edmonton traded and Boston skipped on three times, has 48 points. His longest point-scoring drought this season is three games in a row.
Teams just haven’t been able to solve Barzal. Maybe he’s too quick, he’s too shifty, or is ten steps ahead of defenders on the ice. Whatever it is Barzal hasn’t hit a wall.
A fact that lends itself well to him winning the rookie of the year award, but more importantly, he looks like the real deal. Meaning that this form could be reproduced across his NHL career. This isn’t a one-time Ryan-Strome-like bump.
Having Barzal back-up John Tavares on the second line has completely changed the Islanders offense all season long. Even though they aren’t winning like they were in November, the Islanders still possess the second best offense in the league.
That alone has to warm the coldest of New York Islanders fans hearts. I hope.