New York Islanders sophomore player Mathew Barzal has been the NHL All-Star game by the league to represent the Islanders. The honors continue to follow the first round pick.
He wasn’t even our pick to make. Going into the 2015 NHL draft the New York Islanders didn’t have a first round pick of their own. They lost it in a trade for Thomas Vanek from the Buffalo Sabres.
So to get their hands on one they sent Griffin Reinhart to the Edmonton Oilers for their first round pick (16th overall) and their second-round pick (33rd overall). The Islanders used that 16th overall to select Mathew Barzal from the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Think about that. Edmonton, and specifically Peter Chiarelli, gave up the chance to potentially have Connor McDavid and Mathew Barzal in the same draft class.
This season, both will be at the NHL All-Star game after Barzal got the nod from the NHL.
It’s Mathew Barzal’s second year in the NHL and his first nod to the All-Star game. He could have arguably earned one in his very first season, but with John Tavares being the perennial All-Star on the team and Josh Bailey playing so well it made sense to send them both.
It was no big deal for Barzal. He’d go on to win the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year by dominating the field with 85 points in 82 games. His closest competition was Arizona Coyotes’ Clayton Keller with 65 points. An amazing 20 points of Barzal’s total.
This season, Barzal has put up 36 points through 38 games. Cleary not letting up from what he produced last season. He’s the Islanders best player.
Mathew Barzal has absolutely deserved the honor to represent the New York Islanders at the All-Star game. He’ll rightly be lauded and paraded as the face of the franchise the entire All-Star weekend in San Jose.
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Since the departure of John Tavares, Mathew Barzal has become the center of the Islanders franchise. With a natural hat-trick against John Tavares’ Toronto Maple Leafs cemented. (Just in case you weren’t already thinking that for some reason.)