The rhetoric regarding Islanders forward Mathew Barzal and the Seattle Kraken is getting a little ridiculous.
Mathew Barzal is not leaving the Islanders to play for Seattle. It’s been a half-joke/half concern ever since the Kraken came into the league this past week and I wanted to throw my two cents into the conversation.
Two years ago this month, the Isles lost John Tavares in free agency to the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was a brutal day in Islanders’ history but since then, the Isles have weathered the storm beautifully on the ice.
John Tavares is the outlier. A star player leaving his team via free agency doesn’t really happen all that much if ever in the NHL. If a true superstar leaves the team that drafted him 99 times out of 100 it’s via trade.
Anyway, ever since Tavares left there’s been a narrative that the Islanders can’t get players to sign here. I guess Nick Leddy, Johnny Boychuk, Josh Bailey, Anders Lee, Jordan Eberle, Brock Nelson, and Ilya Sorokin don’t count.
Since Seattle has come into the conversation there’s been this extremely lazy narrative, again from some it’s half-serious for others it’s a full-on take, that Mathew Barzal will leave the Islanders for the Kraken.
In January, the New York Post wrote about the notion that Barzal would “love” to play for Seattle because he grew up *checks notes* 150 miles away from the city? Yes, he also spent time playing in the WHL there but is that the connection we’re drawing?
Why didn’t Anders Lee run to Minnesota last year? Jordan Eberle didn’t run off to Winnipeg or Calgary, Brock Nelson didn’t decide to go back to Minnesota, oh and JG Pageau decided to ink an extension with the team after playing precisely zero games with the franchise.
The only reason this is happening is because once in their 48-year history a star in his prime walked out in free agency. That’s it.
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And I understand some of it from fans is for cheap twitter laughs, and it’s tongue in cheek, but to actually consider it a viable option is pretty naive and short-sighted. Mathew Barzal is not leaving the Islanders to play for the Kraken anytime soon, and I feel confident in saying that.