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Islanders: Mathew Barzal Expectations For 2021 Season

Dec 29, 2019; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; New York Islanders forward Mathew Barzal (13) during the second period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 29, 2019; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; New York Islanders forward Mathew Barzal (13) during the second period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mathew Barzal is signed for the 2021 season. Here’s what we can expect the Islanders forward to do this year.

Finally! Mathew Barzal signed with the Islanders over the weekend and we can all collectively breathe a sigh of relief. He’s inked for the next three years at a reasonable $7 million cap number for New York.

He’s coming off of a solid season that saw him produce 60 points (19 goals, 41 assists) in the shortened 68 game season. In the playoffs, Barzal was extremely effective with 17 points (5 goals, 12 assists) in 22 games including an overtime game-winner vs the Capitals.

Heading into his age 23 season, Barzal has high expectations once again as he’s the Islanders most skilled forward. Here’s what I expect from him in 2021:

2021 Expectations

It’s been two years since we’ve seen Mathew Barzal at a point per game pace, and maybe I’m a sucker, but I’m buying it. Give me Barzal at exactly a point per game 56 points (16 goals, 40 assists) on the season.

A reason for the resurgence of points will be an improved power play. Barzal only had 12 points on the power play last year after dropping from 27 in his rookie year to 18 the following season.

I expect Anders Lee to bounce back in a big way on the power play, which would as a result yield a better performance from his linemate and power play buddy Mathew Barzal.

One thing we saw last year was a big-time jump forward in ice time. He went from 17:55 up to 20:03 and continued getting a ton of time in the playoffs with 20:16. Barzal will average somewhere around 20:30 as his play continues to improve.

What he’s able to do with the puck is truly special, and his zone entries and exits are an underrated part of his game by Islanders fans. If the points go up, which I think they do this year, his name will start to appear on lists of the top-10 centers in the sport.

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For now, most Isles fans are lucky enough to know how important he is to this team, and having him locked in for the next three years is a welcomed bonus.

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