Mathew Barzal had an amazing rookie year, leading the New York Islanders in points with 85, and taking home the Calder Memorial Trophy. After a great rookie season, what’s next?
There is no doubt in anybody’s mind that Mat Barzal is an amazing player. His speed, playmaking, and ability to control the game is second to none. After watching Barzal last season, which he topped off with a Calder Memorial Trophy win, what is next for the New York Islanders’ star?
When you compare Barzal’s rookie year to that of Connor McDavid’s, it’s actually pretty similar. McDavid, arguably the best player in the game right now, finished his first year in the NHL with
due to a shoulder injury. With that point total, he finished with a 1.07 points per game (PPG).
In Barzal’s rookie year, he accumulated 85 points in 82 games, which resulted in 1.04 PPG, which is pretty close to McDavid’s. I am by no means saying Barzal is going to be as good as McDavid. However, these two players are very similar as both use speed and playmaking as the most important elements to their game.
Evgeni Malkin scored 85 points in 78 games which averaged to a 1.09 PPG. I would not be surprised if Barzal goes on to have a similar career to Malkin. Barzal absolutely is a player to watch out for.
Bringing it home, compare Barzal’s rookie season to John Tavares’ first year in the league. Tavares totaled 54 points in his rookie year, averaging out to 0.66 PPG. Barzal had a much better rookie season than Tavares did, and we all know just how good Tavares became.
Barzal definitely has the potential to put up a 100 point season. However, players don’t always reach their highest potential on the scoresheet, while reaching it in other areas like their defensive game. Barzal could very well hit a “sophomore slump” but I do not feel that is very likely.
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While Barzal could hit 100 points, I think he will hit somewhere in the low 90s, which I think almost all Islander fans will be happy with. With Barzal the new face of the franchise, there is a lot to be excited about.