New York Islanders forward Anthony Beauvillier had a breakout year in 2019-20. The young forward discusses the reasons behind his big year.
Anthony Beauvillier had been an incredibly steaky player through his first three NHL seasons with the New York Islanders. The first-round pick from 2015 would show glimpses of a 60 point top-six forward but then could go absolutely ice cold.
His 2018-19 season was perhaps the best evidence of this up-and-down play. Through his first 16 games of the season, Beauvillier registered a single point (a game-winning goal against the Philadelphia Flyers). Over the following 16 games, Beau scored 12 points including a memorable hat-trick and four-point night against the New York Rangers.
But in 19-20, something changed. Through 68 regular-season games and 22 playoff games, Anthony Beauvillier was one of the Islanders most consistent players. So what changed?
The Three Keys
Recently Beauvillier was on RDS’s On Jase where he answered that exact question. What happened in 2019-20 for him to become this consistent force (on and off the puck) for the Islanders in the regular season and then in the playoffs?
According to Beau, his success can be attributed to three key factors:
- Being a fourth-year pro
- Year two under Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz
- Derick Brassard
I really want to get to that second point because Beau has seen a considerable amount of turnaround behind the bench since he became a pro.
Jack Capuano was the head coach when Beauvillier broke into the Islanders squad out of camp in 2016-17. By January 2017, Capuano was replaced by Doug Weight who basically did things Jack’s way until the 17-18 season when the interim tag was removed from Weight’s title. That was a disaster and Doug was replaced by Barry Trotz (after GM Garth Snow was replaced by Lou Lamoriello) in 2018-19. That’s a lot of turnover for a young kid who’s trying to find his way in the NHL.
At the start of the 19-20 season, Barry handed Beau more responsibility, specifically on the penalty kill. Beauvillier had a total of 42 seconds on the PK last season, Barry handed him 42:46 this year. That extra responsibility gave Beau a huge confidence boost that carried over throughout the season.
I just want to pause on that for a second. Not every coach would be so willing to give an underperforming player more responsibility. It takes a special type of coach to recognize how different players need to be pushed differently. Not every player responds to the typical punitive approach coaches take by taking away ice time. Barry recognized that with Beau and it worked flawlessly.
Beau attributes a lot of his success to Derick Brassard’s mentorship on the team, even calling him a big brother. Brass’s 13 years of NHL experience helped Beau throughout the season, so much so that Beauvilliler hopes Brassard will be one of the UFA veterans to return next season.
Brassard might not have been a good third-line center, but he was an OK third-line winger, and based on Beau’s testimony, he was an even better teammate. I wouldn’t be so quick to bring Brassard back. I think what he brings on the ice can be replicated from within. Does what he bring off the ice off-set that? I’m not so sure.
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Beau enters his fifth year in the NHL this season. After how well he performed in 19-20 the hope is that Beau can not only replicate that performance but improve upon it to become that true top-six winger.