New York Islanders rookie Mathew Barzal should be a lock for the Calder Trophy with less than a quarter of the season to play. The only player with a remote chance of stealing it is Vancouver Canucks Brock Boeser.
The New York Islanders, as a franchise, have had four players win the Calder Trophy since their inception in 1972. Four times the Islanders have had the top rookie in the league. And they’re about to add a fifth with Mathew Barzal.
In case you didn’t know who the four New York Islanders to win top rookie honors, it was: Denis Potvin (73-74), Bryan Trottier (75-76), Mike Bossy (77-78), and Bryan Berard (96-97).
The Islanders have played 66 games this season, and Mathew Barzal has 67 points. Good for 15th in the league in scoring and first amongst rookies. By a pretty wide margin.
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Not the Brock You Know
In terms of points, Mathew Barzal has a twelve point lead on the next highest scoring rookie; Vancouver Canucks Brock Boeser.
The 23rd overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft has made quite an impact for the Vancouver Canucks. Coming into the 2017-18 season, the Canucks were #AllInForDahlin. But Boeser’s prolific goal scoring certainly changed that a little.
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Through 61 games in 2017-18, Boeser has 29 goals and 26 assists for 55 points. His 29 goals on the season rank 13th in the entire league, and first in rookies. Barzal is the closest to Boeser with 18 goals of his own.
Barzal has the point lead by twelve, Boeser has the goal lead by nine. Who wins the award?
Looking outside of simply goals and assists, Barzal is far ahead of Boeser. Barzal has a better CF% at 52.25% (to Boeser’s 47.82%). Barzal has a +39 shot +/-, to Boeser’s -10. Barzal’s expected goals for is 40.19% to Boeser’s 31.64%.
(Those last few stats are all taken from Corsica.Hockey)
Say what you want about scoring goals, but Mathew Barzal dictates the rate of play for more than Brock Boeser does. Both are great players now and will be for years. But Barzal is a game changer. Pure and simple.
Brock Boeser is a worthy adversary in the chase for top rookie honors. But let’s face it, the race is well and done. No matter what happens in Vancouver as the Isles take on the Canucks in Barzal’s hometown.