New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield is gaining influence on the blue line. If he can fix some issue with his game the Isles might have found an absolute gem on the ice and on the books.
Against the Dallas Stars, New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield had a team-high 22:33 minutes of ice time. The Isles don’t have any injuries on the blue line nor was their bench short for any stretch of the game.
Barry Trotz has faith in Scott Mayfield. He’s using the big 6’5” blueliner in every situation. On Sunday versus the Stars, Mayfield collected 18:57 in 5on5 time, 0:06 on the power play and a team-high 3:30 on the penalty kill.
If Scott Mayfield can start putting together more consistent performances the Islanders might have a good top four blue line on the best contract in the league. If.
So far this season, Scott Mayfield is averaging over 19 minutes a night for the New York Islanders. That’s a full minute and change more than 2017-18 under Dough Weight when the Islanders had the worst defensive showing in the NHL.
As the season progresses the more Scott Mayfield is featuring for the Islanders.
The faith that Barry Trotz is showing in Scott Mayfield is clear. But Scott Mayfield has some work to do to repay that faith. He’s on pace for his most productive season in the NHL. With eight points in 19 game, Mayfield is on pace to end the year with 35 points. His career high is 12 points.
But as we all know points aren’t everything under Barry Trotz.
His offensive contributions this season are well document, it’s his defensive abilities, namely his gap control that need some work. Two instances come to mind already in this short season: once against Mathieu Joseph of the Tampa Bay Lightning and then against Aleksander Barkov of the Florida Panthers.
Both are examples of where Scott Mayfield needed to close the gap on a puck carrier to either eliminate an opportunity or at least significantly increase the difficulty of that opportunity.
Against Joseph, Mayfield conceded way too much space for the onrushing attacker at the blueline. Mayfield is clearly the slower skater between the two so giving Joseph space meant Mayfield wouldn’t be left in the dust. Except Mayfield gave Joseph so much space it didn’t matter and scoed a goal.
A similar situation occurred just a few days later against the Florida Panthers on the penalty kill. Barkov was left unchallenged by Mayfield for far too long. Barkov was able to exploit that space and use Scott Mayfield as a second screen (he already had teammate
posted in front of
) and scored a goal.
Barry Trotz clearly likes what Scott Mayfield has to offer. He’s got size, strength, and offensive abilities. Pull that all together with a more robust defensive game and the Islanders 2011 second round pick could be a great top four defender for the Islanders.
And thanks to that five-year $7.25 million deal ($1.45 million AAV/Cap Hit), Scott Mayfield could have the best deal in the league. Keep in mind that a top-four defender goes for at least $4.5 to $5 million on the free market.
Mayfield’s contact carries a third of that open market cap hit.
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One of the better coaches in the NHL is showing Scott Mayfield a lot of faith. Hopefully, he takes it all in and becomes one of the New York Islanders invaluable bluelines for years to come.