With a 15.9 percent shooting percentage, is New York Islanders youngster Anthony Beauvillier poised to regress in 2018-19?
It was one heck of a season for Anthony Beauvillier. It started off pretty slow with seven points for the New York Islanders between October 2017 and January 2018. A slow start that earned him a send down to the AHL.
It didn’t last long. He played a total of two games for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers before injuries forced the Islanders to call back the Québec native to the lineup. A call back that we’d soon forget ever happened as Beauvillier lit up the league int he second half.
With 29 points in his final 40 games, Beauvillier was scoring at a rate of 0.725 points per game. Average that out over a full 82 game season and that’s a 60 point player.
Amongst those 29 points were 17 goals scored. By the end of the season, Beauvillier was scoring on 15.9 percent of his shots. Good for second on the team behind 40 goal machine Anders Lee in shooting percentage. Is that something that can be sustained in 2018-19?
Sustainability, Yes Sir
In 2016-17, his first NHL season, Anthony Beauvillier was shooting at an 8.9 percent clip. It’s not a bad return. And his nine goals on 101 shots were pretty good. So the question is; what kind of player is Beau?
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Is he that 8.9 percent shooter, or is he the one we saw this season scoring on 15.9 percent of his shots? My argument is that we’re closer to the 15.9 percent shooter than the one we saw in 2016-17.
Just consider the amount of ice time that Beauvillier is going to get in 2018-19. He’s going to enter training camp as the defacto number six in the Islanders forward group. The left wing spot on Barzal’s wing and next to Jordan Eberle is his.
And more ice time is exactly what Beauvillier needs. Look at this info-graph from HockeyViz. See how as Beauvillier’s ice time went up in the latter portion of the season so did his production.
The longer he’s on the ice, the more opportunities he’s going to get. And on a line with Barzal, those opportunities will be numerous. Beauvillier is going to be the target man for Barzal in 2018-19. There’s no reason to think he won’t be able to put up a 25-30 goal season in 2018-19.
That’s the easy argument to make, but what about league-wide precedence. Is there a similar player in a similar circumstance that had a similar career trajectory that was able to sustain what Beauvillier did?
That’s where Rickard Rakell out in Anaheim comes into play. In his second full NHL season with the Ducks, Rakell made a great leap in production thanks to increased ice-time.
In Rakell’s first full NHL season, 2014-15, he put up ten goals and a similar 8.9 percent shooting percentage. Just like Beauvillier, he had just over a 100 shots on net (105) and average 12:34 on the ice. The following season, 2015-16, Rakell’s ice time shot up to 16:04 and he contributed 20 goals on 169 shots.
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The parallels between Beauvillier and Rakell are outstanding. Although to be fair to Beau, he didn’t even average 15 minutes a game last season. Can I see Anthony Beauvillier converting on close to 16% of his shots with an increased deployment in 2018-19?. You bet.