3. Anthony Beauvillier’s Hot Streak Continues, Wahlstrom Cools Down
Anthony Beauvillier’s season did not get off to the kind of start he would’ve liked it to, I’m sure. Beauvillier had just six points through his first 22 appearances of the 2020-21 season, and when he was healthy, he was mostly a non-factor for his team.
That isn’t the kind of performances the Islanders were hoping for from a player who is expected to be a contributor in their top-six forward group, and it wasn’t the kind of season Beauvillier was looking to have in a contract year.
But Beau’s performances have picked up in a big way since late March. He now has eight points in his last seven games since March 20, and has registered multiple shots on goal in four of those seven.
Saturday, Beauvillier had another very strong performance, scoring the Islanders two goals. He finished second among Islanders skaters with .28 ixG, behind Oliver Wahlstrom’s .7, which led all skaters from both teams in all situations.
Beauvillier and Wahlstrom have seemingly been on divergent trajectories all season. When Beauvillier was ice cold and couldn’t catch a break, Wahlstrom was shooting at an above 30% clip. Now, Beauvillier is thriving, having potted six goals in the last seven Islanders games, and shooting over 46% (!) since March 20.
Meanwhile, Wahlstrom’s red-hot production has slowed down since the 25 of March. That’s not to say Wahlly isn’t playing well, because he’s still generating shots, forechecking and back-checking well, and getting good looks from in-tight at the net. But they just aren’t going in at the same clip they once were. Which is normal.
Again, there was a stretch in which Wahlstrom was shooting around 30%. That is an unsustainable level of shooting success, no matter how good the player’s shot. What’s encouraging is that he’s still generating chances and getting his high-danger looks. Even if the chances are not going in right now, his continuing to get to those areas in the slot will mean the shots will start going in again eventually.
The Islanders season has been a bit of a revolving door of hot and cold forwards. Mathew Barzal has probably been the most consistently brilliant of the forward bunch, but players like Jordan Eberle, Brock Nelson, Wahlstrom, Beauvillier, J.G. Pageau, Josh Bailey, and Casey Cizikas have produced well at different times to keep the offense afloat as well.
Encouragingly, we haven’t seen all the Islanders forward group hit their strides in unison yet. When and if they finally do, this could be a potent offensive attack with strong possession and expected goal numbers. That’s not even factoring in the possibility of further offensive firepower being brought in before the April 12 trade deadline by Lou Lamoriello.