Is it time we start talking about Mathew Barzal and the turnovers? The New York Islanders forward is leading the league in giveaways this year.
Turnovers is a difficult stat to talk about. There’s a lot more context than just how many giveaways you have, it’s not black and white. For instance, if a player touches the puck more they are going to give it away more as a result.
It also depends on how else on your team carries the puck. Well, the Islanders really only have one elite forward and that’s Mathew Barzal. Barzy leads the entire NHL in giveaways with 77, a pace of 131 giveaways.
To put that into context, he had 117 last year and finished sixth in the league. Barzal semi gets a pass because of the offense he creates. He holds onto the puck a lot, which is part of the reason why he has that many turnovers.
Yes, at times he can get careless, for example in yesterday’s game against Carolina. On the Svechnikov goal, Barzal just couldn’t clear the zone. He could’ve easily skated it out but instead skated into traffic.
That was the only goal in regulation the Islanders allowed yet they still lost. You can live with turnovers when you are scoring goals but the Islanders just aren’t doing that.
On the ice, Barzal is someone the Isles rely on heavily to create offense. He is always near the top of the league in zone entries, he can be wizardly with his passes, but sometimes he just takes it too far.
So to answer the question of the article, yes Mathew Barzal does have a turnover problem but it’s not necessarily something that will be an issue forever. Keep in mind, Barzal is only 22. His game isn’t fully developed yet.
While it’s certainly frustrating at times to watch him turn the puck over, this problem isn’t the Barzal that we will be getting two-three years from now. You’d have to expect his game to develop as he continues to grow.
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Yes, Barzal turns the puck over a lot but it’s just more glaring now because the Isles aren’t scoring goals. If and when their goal totals go up, the turnovers will be less noticeable