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Editorials

New York Islanders Three Positive Takeaways from First Three Games

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 06: The New York Islanders celebrate a second period goal by Brock Nelson #29 against the Winnipeg Jets at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on October 06, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 06: The New York Islanders celebrate a second period goal by Brock Nelson #29 against the Winnipeg Jets at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum on October 06, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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TORONTO, ON – DECEMBER 29: Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders waits for a faceoff against the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on December 29, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Islanders defeated the Maple Leafs 4-0.(Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Mathew Barzal’s Faceoffs

Barry Trotz mentioned how Barzal’s faceoffs were getting better during his post-game press conference after the Edmonton loss. If you didn’t already know his faceoff efficiency in that game you’ll be astounded when you find out.

Sixty-four percent. Mathew Barzal won 64.3 percent of his faceoffs against the Oilers. He won 70 percent at 5on5 and 50 percent at 4on5. Incredible.

On the season, Mathew Barzal holds a 51.7 percentage faceoff win ration. His last two seasons were 42.6 and 41.6 percent respectively. Barzal hasn’t been good on the faceoff for a while now and perhaps that’s changed this year.

The one blemish on his record this season is that 25 percent faceoff win ration against the Washington Capitals. Barzal won just two faceoffs on eight attempts. Sad.

Faceoffs were perhaps the one area of the game that Mathew Barzal needed to address in the offseason. We know he can skate, shoot, pass, find space, see the ice. He can do it all. Faceoffs on the other hand, not so much. And early on this season, it seems that he worked on his draws in the offseason.

To be fair, the entire New York Islanders roster could use a refresher on how to win a draw. It’s not just Mathew Barzal. In 2018-19 the Islanders ranked 29th for faceoff win percentage with a 47.4 win percentage.

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Having Barzal become more efficient on the draw lessens the faceoff burden on Brock Nelson who took an overwhelming number of draws last season. Like 200 more than the next player; Casey Cizkas. Brock took almost three times as many faceoffs (1246) as Mathew Barzal (580) in 2018-19.

Let’s see if that keeps up as the season progresses, but so far so good from Barzal!

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