In an impressive rookie season, Mathew Barzal put up 85 points with the New York Islanders. Will he continue to be a point per game player going forward?
On our latest podcast, we talked about Mitch and I making a bet. It was a New York Islanders bet, of course, and it had to do with how many points Mathew Barzal will finish the season with this upcoming year.
Last year Barzal outplayed everyone’s expectations. 85 points in your first full season in the league is incredible and that’s why he was a lock to take home the Calder Trophy this past June.
On the second line, playing with Jordan Eberle and a combination of Andrew Ladd and Anthony Beauvillier, Barzal became an assist monster. 63 assists was good enough for third all-time tied with Bryan Trottier and Sidney Crosby.
If you want to project how Barzal’s assist numbers will be in year two let’s look at the top assist-getters for rookies. Starting with Sidney Crosby, he went from 63 assists in his rookie year to 84 in his second season. Trottier’s assist numbers dropped down to 42 but Peter Stastny, who is second all-time in rookie assists increased from 70 to 93 assists.
It honestly seems like a flip of a coin whether or not his assist numbers will increase. One thing that these basic stats don’t include is ice time. Barzal is expected to go from the second line to the top line.
That means he’ll go from playing 17:46 per game to somewhere around 20 minutes a game. The more time he’s on the ice the more time he’s likely to come up with points.
History isn’t on his side for an increase in points though. Of the past 10 Calder winners who were forwards, only Evgeni Malkin increased his point production from year one to year two.
With all this information presented it feels like his season could go either way. If I was betting on it though I would take the over at 82 points.
To me, the ice time is going to make the biggest difference. Even more so than history not being on his side. If I had to guess somewhere in the neighborhood of 90 points seems like a safe bet.
Hopefully, it’s over 90 because Mitch and I both have a bet on the line that he’ll eclipse 90 points (something Tavares has never done) in his second year.