3 Takeaways from the NY Islanders 2023-24 Season

New York Islanders v Carolina Hurricanes - Game Five
New York Islanders v Carolina Hurricanes - Game Five / Grant Halverson/GettyImages
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Shifting Mat Barzal to the wing was the correct decision

Playing center for his entire career until the Islanders acquired Horvat at last season's trade deadline, Barzal ultimately became the top-line winger the islanders were searching for.

Shifting Barzal to the wing has allowed him more offensive freedom without taking on the defensive responsibilities of playing the center position. 

Barzal finished the season having his best statistical year since his rookie campaign when he won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year. His 80 points in 80 games this season were second only to that rookie season when he finished with 85 in 82 games.

Horvat and Barzal have built a chemistry playing to both of the team's star players’ strong suits. Barzal now has a goal scorer on his side to whom he can distribute the puck and Horvat has a playmaker who can find him in the smallest of pockets on the ice. 

Horvat and Barzal will in all likelihood be paired together for most of their careers, with both having 7 seasons remaining on their contracts with the Islanders.

Now the Islanders will turn to finding another winger to complete the first line and make them one of the league's most formidable.