New York Islanders Five Reasons 2018-19 Season Will be a Success
Barzal is Even Better
In his first full NHL season in 2017-18 Mathew Barzal stole the show. With 85 points in 82 games, the 16th overall pick in 2015 was the consensus for the leagues top rookie, winning the Calder Trophy.
It was the first time a New York Islanders player had won it since Bryan Berard in 1997. Barzal joins Denis Potvin, Bryan Trottier, Mike Bossy, and Bryan Berard as the only Islanders players to win the trophy.
That was year one. Mathew Barzal is only 21-years-old. He’s yet to reach his peak as a hockey player. Meaning he can only get better from that 85 point season.
Forwards typically peak at 24-years-old. That’s still three years away. There’s still three years of growth before Mathew Barzal potentially plateaus for a few years.
Sure John Tavares is no longer here, but Barzal seemed to be just fine without him last season. The only time the two were typically on the ice together was on the power play. When it came to 5on5, where Barzal scored 68 percent of his points, Barzal and Tavares didn’t share the ice.
Barzal will get a bit more ice time now that he leads the Islanders offense that will be entirely catered around him. That extra responsibility won’t be an issue for the sophomore center. He showed us last season that even against top-tier defenders he can still be as productive.
Putting up 90 points or more this season isn’t impossible for Barzal. Even 100 points isn’t out of the question for him. And unlike Connor McDavid, Barzal has a few more pieces around him that can help offensively.