New York Islanders: What To Do When Andrew Ladd Returns From IR
By Tim Ryder
Since moving onto the New York Islanders second line alongside Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle, Anthony Beauvillier has been nothing short of spectacular. When Andrew Ladd returns the Isles may need to find a new spot for him.
The New York Islanders knew they had something special in young forward Anthony Beauvillier when they drafted him 28th overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. One thing the Isles could never have predicted is that he’d find his groove and make such a significant contribution so quickly.
Beauvillier certainly had a tough road ahead of him. In 66 games played last season, Beau scored nine goals and assisted on 15 more, and played to a +1 rating. As a teenager starting out in the NHL, it really wasn’t half-bad.
Coming into the 2017-18 season, the New York Islanders had big plans for Anthony Beauvillier. They had every intention of sticking Beau in the bottom-six and letting him forge his way. Things did not go exactly as planned, to put it kindly. Up until his recent hot streak began, Beauvillier only had four goals on the season.
New York Islanders finally seeing what they hoped to see out of Anthony Beauvillier
In the New York Islanders final game before the league-mandated “bye week”, Anthony Beauvillier scored a goal in the Isles win over the New Jersey Devils. Having lost Josh Bailey and Andrew Ladd to injuries, head coach Doug Weight turned to Beauvillier to fill the open spot left on the second line. And what an important decision that’s been.
In the six games the Isles have played since returning from the break, Anthony Beauvillier has scored seven goals. Playing alongside Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle, Beau has excelled. Teams have learned that they must now prepare to defend against the three-pronged pitchfork that is this line.
In 38 games played this season, Anthony Beauviller has 16 points (12 G, 4 A, -2) and his 20.3% shooting percentage ranks fifth in the NHL. After bouncing between Bridgeport and the big club, it seems that Beau has cemented his place on the New York Islanders second line.
What will the New York Islanders do when Andrew Ladd returns?
If Anthony Beauvillier can continue to shine alongside Barzal and Eberle on the New York Islanders second line, that frees up Andrew Ladd to move down to the third line and do what he does best; provide guidance and leadership to players who need it.
Brock Nelson is finally coming out of his season-long funk. The boost “Ladder” would provide could speed that process up considerably. If the Isles can send out an even marginally productive third line to go along with their All-NHL top two lines, this team would be yet another step closer to being a bonafide Stanley Cup contender.
Next: Garth Snow is Ruining Isles Chances of Winning Now
Adding Andrew Ladd to the New York Islanders’ third line when he returns from injury would significantly improve that groups production, in this writer’s opinion. If Isles GM Garth Snow were to wake up from the Rip Van Winkle-like slumber he’s been in this season and acquire a top-four defenseman, this team would be nearly unstoppable.