Editorials

Islanders: Mathew Barzal 2020 Season

By Matt O'Leary
Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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Mathew Barzal had a bounce-back year for the Islanders in 2020. Here’s how we graded his season.

2018-2019 could be classified as a down year for Mathew Barzal, but he was able to respond nicely in year three with the Islanders. In 68 games, Barzal finished with 60 points and 19 goals which was a pace of 72 points and 23 goals.

Barzal started the year slow but ended up having a strong month of October finishing with five goals and nine points in 11 games. The goal scoring continued over the next two months as well, as Barzal had five in November and six in December.

Through the first 38 games of the year, Barzal had himself 34 points and 16 goals. At that point, he was on pace for 35 goals. Well, that changed in the second half of the year.

In his remaining 30 games, Barzal netted just three goals. The assists were still there, he had 23 helpers over that time, there just wasn’t nearly enough goal production. The Islanders offense usually goes as Barzal goes so this was problematic.

Luckily for Barry Trotz and company, Barzal turned it on in the playoffs. He had five goals and 17 points in 22 games including this game-winner:

Barzal is the Islanders top player, without question, and with that comes a lot of pressure. He’s handled it relatively well so far, though my biggest critique would be consistency. He’s been streaky the last two years and the rest of the offense seems to go away when he’s struggling.

Part of that is needing more help, that’s a given, but at the same time as he continues to get older, the brunt of the workload will be put on his shoulders.

To me, Mat Barzal earned himself a B+ grade this year. He was definitely improved, but I’m leaving soom room for improvement with my grade.

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Now, we’ll have to wait it out to see what kind of contract he gets as a RFA this year. For Lou Lamoriello, getting his young center signed long-term is one of the top priorities of the 2020 offseason.

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