Editorials

Islanders: Anthony Beauvillier Deserves A Shot On Line 1

By Matt O'Leary
TORONTO, ONTARIO - AUGUST 05: Jean-Gabriel Pageau #44 of the New York Islanders (L) celebrates his goal at 16:26 of the first period against the Florida Panthers and is joined by Anthony Beauvillier #18 (R) in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Qualification Round prior to the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on August 5, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - AUGUST 05: Jean-Gabriel Pageau #44 of the New York Islanders (L) celebrates his goal at 16:26 of the first period against the Florida Panthers and is joined by Anthony Beauvillier #18 (R) in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Qualification Round prior to the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on August 5, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images) /
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The New York Islanders’ top line has struggled immensely in the first three games. Anthony Beauvillier should get a look on L1.

Without a doubt, Anthony Beauvillier has been the best forward on the ice for the New York Islanders in the first three games. Through three games he has three points (1 goal, 2 assists) accounting for points on three of the Islanders three eight goals in the series.

While forwards like Beau and JG Pageau have been solid, the Isles could use more out of Mathew Barzal, Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, and Josh Bailey. While looking at the top line, Anders Lee doesn’t have a point and Barzal has just one assist so far.

While the Isles were able to get by in Games 1 and 2 thanks to depth scoring, they weren’t so lucky in Game 3. In order to get their best player back on track, it may behoove Barry Trotz to shake up the top two lines.

Here’s my suggestion: Swap Anders Lee and Anthony Beauvillier. That’s literally it.

Over the last three years, Beauvillier – Barzal – Eberle have played 469:13 together. Over that span, they have a 51.67 Corsi-for percentage, a 57.69 Goals For Percentage, a 51.99 Scoring Chances For Percentage, and a 55.66 high Danger Chances For Percentage according to Natural Stat Trick.

For context, Anthony Beauvillier without those two in 1,566:49 has a 46.32 CF%, a 45.19 GF%, a 46.02 SCF%, and a 46.32 HDCF%. Over the last three years, Beau has been significantly more productive with those two than without.

Here’s how the Lee – Barzal – Eberle line has faired over the past three-year sample size:

In 787:10, they have a 54.45 CF%, a 50.00 GF%, a 55.09 SCF%, and a 59.36 HDCF%. While those numbers aren’t bad by any stretch, and in some instances better, I would argue that right now riding the hot hand in Anthony Beauvillier would be more beneficial.

Plus, you could also make the argument that Anders Lee would benefit more playing with Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey. Barzal and Eberle play a more fast-paced game and Lee struggles to keep up while Bailey and Nelson aren’t as fast-paced when on the ice together.

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Yes, in a perfect world, the Islanders should probably have someone better to put next to Barzal, no argument there. With what the Islanders have right now, Beauvillier makes the most sense to spark that line.

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