If you told me at the start of the year, that the New York Islanders would feature a top line that was top-25 in the NHL and it didn't feature Mathew Barzal I would've said there's no possible way that it's true.
Well, that's a reality. NHL.com ranked the top 25 lines in the sport right now and coming in at number 24 was the Islanders new look top line.
Lee - Nelson - Beauvillier has been a really nice find for the Islanders as they've worked well together and have been extremely productive especially of late.
Over Anders Lee's last 15 games he has 20 points (11 goals, 9 assists). On the season he's now up to 25 goals and 40 points. Considering his assist numbers were stuck in the single digits for most of the season it's impressive to see how well he's been able to get others involved offensively, especially recently. Having Brock Nelson, who is a shooter as opposed to Mathew Barzal who we know is pass first, is likely a leading cause in that change.
For Brock Nelson he has 13 goals and 20 points in his last 16 games played. He now is up to a career high of 32 goals. Like Josh Bailey a few years ago, Brock Nelson is getting better with age. It's hard to explain it but he is just all around better now at age 30 as opposed to his mid 20's when he was struggling to find himself. He has taken a step past Mathew Barzal in terms of all around player, and I don't think that's really even up for debate right now.
This line's success is mostly due to the veterans Brock Nelson and Anders Lee. Even still, Anthony Beauvillier deserves credit as well for his play recently. In his last 15, he has 12 points (2 goals, 10 assists). We know that he can be a very streaky player but right now he is on one of those stretches where he looks like a 60 point player and a sure fire top-six player. He plays hard and isn't afraid to get in on the forecheck which helps his cause.
Overall this line is balanced and it seems to be working for now. I would expect this line to play out the rest of the season as the Islanders number one unit.