Mathew Barzal’s Season
We knew Mathew Barzal was going to be a good player. But at the start of the 2017-18 no one expected him to be the Calder Trophy lock and challenging John Tavares for the team’s top scoring honors.
But after 74 games this season, Mathew Barzal is a single point behind the team captain with 76 points. His 20 goals and 56 assists also rank him as the highest scoring rookie in the NHL by 18 points this season.
For years the New York Islanders had but John Tavares as the primary scoring threat on the team. But with Mathew Barzal they now have that one-two punch going forward that all teams with championship aspirations require.
There’s no reason to think that what Mathew Barzal has done in 2017-18 is a fluke. He’s not shooting at some unrealistic shooting percentage. He’s not pilling up a ton of secondary assists. He’s deserved every point he’s picked up.
Just watching him play you see why he’s been a star for this team. And why he’s created so many opportunities for the Islanders.
Having two potential 80 point players in the lineup obviously wasn’t enough this season. But assuming the Islanders can address their defensive issues going forward then the emergence of Barzal should elevate them from the doldrums of the league.