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New York Islanders Mathew Barzal Joins Elite Rookie Class

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 23: Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders celebrates his goal at 2:20 of the first period against the Winnipeg Jets at the Barclays Center on December 23, 2017 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 23: Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders celebrates his goal at 2:20 of the first period against the Winnipeg Jets at the Barclays Center on December 23, 2017 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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We know New York Islanders Mathew Barzal is special. Not just too us, but to the game of hockey in general. With a point against the Arizona Coyotes, Barzal joined an elite level of players.

Mathew Barzal has been around for just over half a season now. He’s anchored the New York Islanders second line and has given his team a second offensive outlet after superstar John Tavares.

Week-after-week we see him grow and become a better NHL player. Gone are the days when Mathew Barzal would be star struck by players like Alex Ovechkin and Niklas Backstrom.

He’s now surpassed everyone in his rookie class with his 50th point of the season. Brock Boeser out of Vancouver has the best shot at stealing the Calder Trophy from Barzal and he’s nine points back of Barzal.

What Barzal is doing isn’t only going to reward him with the annual trophy given to the league’s top rookie. With that 50th point he’s now joined an elite few players to hit 50 points in 50 games.

The Three “Others”

Over the last 20 years only four players, including Mathew Barzal have hit the 50 points in 50 games plateau. These other three players are Sidney Crosby, Evegny Makin, and Alex Ovechkin. (Thanks for that one Eric).

All of which will be in the Hall of Fame once they retire. And not 20+ years down the road like Rogie Vachon. We’re talking first ballot Hall of Fame players. Even Malkin, although he wasn’t one of the NHL’s 100 greatest players of all time.

That’s the company Mathew Barzal is keeping. Think about that. It’s not like that list has exceptions like the Calder does. Where players like Barrett Jackman have won the award.

Looking at the way Barzal plays there’s no evidence that any of this is luck based. He’s the one creating the opportunities out there.

As a playmaker, we thought that Barzal was going to be low on the goal totals and heavy on the apples. That’s not the case at the moment. He’s already reached 16 goals on the season in 49 games played. Putting him on pace for a 27 goal season.

Next: New York Islanders NHL Trade Deadline Preview 2.0

Barzal isn’t the exception to the rule. He is the rule. The New York Islanders not only finally have a winger for Tavares in Josh Bailey, but they’ve got that dynamic second line center championship calibre teams need. Barzal is to JT what Malkin is to Crosby.

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