NY Islanders News

Islanders Mathew Barzal is struggling right now

New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils / Rich Graessle/GettyImages
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Mathew Barzal hasn't put up a point in his last four games. That's just not something that happens too frequently for the New York Islanders star player.

Since he began his NHL career in 2017-18, he's only gone on such a scoreless run four other times:
Oct 6 to Oct 14, 2017 (5 Games)*
Feb 16 to Feb 22, 2021 (4 Games)
Apr 16 to Apr 22, 2021 (4 Games)
Nov 16 to Nov 26, 2021 (5 Games)

*First five games of his rookie season

There's something to be said about four of those long scoreless runs coming in 2021 (broken up between two seasons mind you) but I want to concentrate on this current scoreless run. Mainly, because it's happening now.

New York Islanders Mathew Barzal struggling

Not having any points is a clear issue for someone like Barzal. The Islanders are used to having no.13 lead the line offensively. Usually, when Mathew Barzal isn't productive it spells disaster for the Islanders. But with contributions from the new top-line and Pageau's line, the Isles have been able to go 3-2-0.

But the issues go beyond production for Barzal. I don't like focusing on +/- but it's hard to ignore that -7 in these last four games (with a -5 against St Louis). Not only is Barzal not creating a lot but he's seemingly giving up a lot.

It gets worse. Just look at how some of Barzal's underlying numbers rank to the rest of the team's skaters over these four games:

iCF: 5 (13th)
iFF: 5 (10th)
iSCF: 4 (8th)
iHDCF: 2 (7th)
ixG: 0.48 (6th)

*Data from NaturalStatTrick and at 5on5

Barzal just isn't having the same type of impact, even off the score sheet as we're used to seeing from him. Just watch how Barzal's ranking moves up when I remove the last four-game filter:

iCF: 161 (8th)
iFF: 131 (5th)
iSCF: 103 (6th)
iHDCF: 50 (6th)
ixG: 11.17 (3rd)

*Data from NaturalStatTrick and at 5on5

The struggle is real right now for Mathew Barzal. Why that is exactly is hard to say. The "take-the-puck-in-the-O-Zone-peel-back-when-double-teamed-a-third-of-the-way-in-and-loose-possession" is something that Barzal is guilty of way too frequently. We've seen in the past that when Barzal does too much he reduces his effectiveness by a substantial margin.

Again, what's going on isn't quite clear but what is clear is that Barzal is struggling right now.

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