The New York Islanders need another forward for their penalty kill. Could Mathew Barzal be the guy that gets the ice time?
When Valterri Filppula left, a massive hole was created on the third line and penalty kill for the New York Islanders. Filppula was a reliable piece to that Islanders team, and it seems like they finally found his replacement by signing Derick Brassard.
Brassard will almost certainly fill in on that third-line center role, and he should do a fine job in that role. Where he won’t have an impact is on the penalty kill.
Over the course of his career, the most amount of PK minutes he ever received was 19. There’s no way at 32 years old the Islanders decide to throw him out there for 100+ minutes on the penalty kill after being a nonfactor at that part of the game for his entire career.
In Arthur Staple’s piece yesterday he mentioned two options. One was Brock Nelson who really came into his own last year. Brock played 65:45 on the PK last year, which was fifth-most for forwards. He might make the most sense in that role.
The other option was an outside the box choice, Mat Barzal. He only played 5:30 on the PK but Staple talks about getting Barzal more ice time as a reason why he could be out there. I mean, John Tavares was out on the PK in his final two years with the Islanders.
Barzal could also be a short-handed goals threat and put pressure on the opposing team’s power play with his threat of speed on the ice. If he was playing around the perimeter I can maybe get behind this logic.
At the end of the day, I think Brock gets the nod though. He really came on strong as a two-way forward and I think he can be this team’s version of what Frans Nielsen was. Someone who can give you 50 points while playing great defense. The perfect second-line center.
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