Five years ago today, the New York Islanders selected Mathew Barzal 16th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft.
2015 is probably the best draft the New York Islanders had just based on their first-round alone. They were set to have zero first-round picks but after moving Griffin Reinhart to the Oilers, the Isles landed a first and second-round pick in the 2015 draft.
Those picks ended up turning into Mathew Barzal at 16th overall and Anthony Beauvillier at 28th overall. Obviously, both of those guys are key factors to the Isles five years later, but the story of Mathew Barzal being there for the Isles is an interesting one.
Heading into the draft, Mat Barzal was considered a top-10 prospect by many. In Jeff Marek’s mock draft for Sportsnet, he had Barzal going ninth overall to San Jose. On draft night, Barzal was still available at nine but he wasn’t taken.
Boston decided to trade Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton to get themselves first-round picks, and they held picks 13-15. With Barzal still on the board at 15, Boston went Jakub Zboril, Jake Debrusk, and Zachary Sensyshyn consecutively.
Debrusk has turned into a solid NHL player, but both Zboril and Sensyshyn have combined for eight games in the NHL.
Garth Snow ran up to the podium to announce the Mat Barzal pick at 16. How could he possibly be there still? Three years after being drafted by the Isles, Barzal won himself a Calder Trophy putting up 85 points (22 goals, 63 assists).
He took a step back offensively during year one of Barry Trotz with 62 points but in 68 regular-season games this year, he finished with 60 points (a pace of 72 points over an 82 game season.
Out of the entire 2015 draft class, Barzal ranks sixth in points. Only Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel, Mitch Marner, Sebastian Aho, and Mikko Rantanen have more points than Barzal. Aho was the only one selected after Barzal by the way.
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The Isles got a good one five years ago tonight, and I don’t think they’d change anything from that night. Once again, thank you to Don Sweeny and Peter Chiarelli for making this possible.