New York Islanders: Mathew Barzal Expectations For 2019-2020
Coming off a sophomore slump season, how does Mathew Barzal in 2019-2020 with the New York Islanders? Here are my expectations.
Expectations were high for Mathew Barzal after coming off a Calder Trophy-winning rookie season with the New York Islanders in 2017-2018. He put up a massive 85 points cake walking to the award.
Last year, he wasn’t nearly as productive. To be fair, pretty much everyone outside of Casey Cizkas and Brock Nelson saw their production go down but the 23 point difference (85 down to 62) was a significant step backward production-wise.
First of all, the Islanders style of play was much different in the Barry Trotz system. When Doug Weight was their coach, just a year prior, the defense was an afterthought and they were a high-powered offensive juggernaut which is what helped Barzal put up that massive rookie season. Trotz, as we know, preaches defensive responsibility.
You also had no consistency with Barzal’s line. He was working with Anders Lee, Jordan Eberle, Josh Bailey, and Anthony Beauvillier in some form of combination. All four of them had down years and the line didn’t click until the playoffs with Eberle and Lee.
Beauvillier and Bailey, who were with Barzal a ton last year, really struggled at the same time which led to Barzy being ineffective due to linemates weighing him down.
So with a consistent line and a full year in the Trotz system, it’s probably a safe bet that Mathew Barzal’s point total goes up in 2019-2020. Before we get to the prediction, there’s one more thing I wanted to hit on and that’s faceoffs.
Over his first two years in the league, Barzal has been absolutely terrible on the faceoff. Last year he finished with just 41.6 percent and his career number is a42.2 percent. He doesn’t have to become an elite faceoff guy, just don’t be a liability.
I would like to see Barzal get that up to 46 percent. That seems like a reasonable expectation for him as a 22-year-old center.
All signs are pointing to Mathew Barzal getting better this upcoming year. He should see a nice increase in points. I’ll go with 71 points ( 20 goals, 51 assists). Barzal’s ice time, which was just under 18 minutes the last two years should go up to around 18:30 as well.
With Barzal’s play, you can expect him to get a hefty raise. Look for him to sign an eight-year $69 million ($8.5 million) contract extension next July.