Can Mathew Barzal be the first player to hit 100 points for the New York Islanders since 1993? Probably.
The New York Islanders haven’t had a 100 point player since Pierre Turgeon put up 123 points in the 1992-93 season. The closest an Islanders player ever got to 100 points so far has been Turgeon in 93-94 with 94 points and Ziggy Palffy with 90 in 1996-97.
Could Mathew Barzal be the first player to hit the 100 point mark in 25 years for the New York Islanders? According to Alexandre Parent of TVA Sports (article in French), Barzal is on the shortlist of players who just might be able to do it.
Why not? Isn’t
? And shouldn’t we
Can He Actually?
Parent indicates that Barzal stunned experts in his first season with the Islanders in scoring 85 points. But he’s not sure if his 85 points in his rookie year were thanks to Tavares or not.
Clearly, Parent never watched an Islanders games. Mathew Barzal and John Tavares were rarely on the ice together for 5on5 situations. According to Natural Stat Trick, Barzal played 22:30 with Tavares and 1104:13 away from Tavares. That’s two percent of Barzal’s 5on5 time with Tavares.
What about the argument that Barzal benefited from Tavares being the Isles number one center and receiving sheltered minutes as the number two center? It isn’t true. According to Lighthouse Hockey’s Travis Flynn:
"Midway through the season Tavares’s time-on-ice versus D1s and D2s topped out above seven minutes per-game, whereas Barzal clocked in under five minutes. In the last 30 games, however, Tavares descended below 6.5 minutes while Barzal closed in on 5.5. By the end of the season Barzal was facing off against D1s for roughly eighty percent as many minutes per-game as Tavares. He was no longer a sheltered rookie. In fact, in the closing 30 games Barzal played 428 minutes of 5v5 hockey to Tavares’s 411, for the Islanders. Tavares still drew more time against stronger opposing defensemen, but the disparity was shrinking."
Barzal wasn’t sheltered and his Calder winning season in 2016-17 had nothing to do with John Tavares. Mathew Barzal did that all on his own. His linemates certainly helped and all of them are still around for the 2018-19 season.
But 100 points in today’s NHL is a tall task. Since 2013-14, only five players have hit or exceeded the 100 point mark. Connor McDavid (twice), Patrick Kane, Nikita Kucherov, Claude Giroux, and Sidney Crosby.
Barzal still has a good supporting cast around him with Jordan Eberle, Anthony Beauvillier, Anders Lee, and Josh Bailey. Getting goal support won’t be an issue. And at 21-years-old Barzal still hasn’t entered his prime yet. NHL players tend to peak at 22 and stay at that peak till they’re 25.
That means there’s still, technically, another year for Mathew Barzal to hit his peak as an NHL player. Meaning another year to get better than he already is.
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It seems absolutely plausible for Barzal to hit the 100 point mark even with the current construction of the New York Islanders roster. Again, Barzal’s success was his doing, not Tavares’. Hitting 100 points is possible for Barzal next season.