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Who could lead the Islanders in goals in 2022-23?

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Mathew Barzal
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Mathew Barzal

We all know that Barzal isn't a prototypical goal-scorer, but he is easily the most dynamic player on the team and is a franchise center looking for a big payday in the 2022-23 offseason.

That isn't to say though that Barzal can't shoot the puck, he can. When he elects to shoot he can really zing it. I believe this season we can expect him to elect to shoot more often this year considering it is a huge year for him coming up, and I'm sure he isn't happy that his career-high in goals came in his rookie season, 5 years ago.

In order for him to do this realistically, he needs to be paired up with the right people. Whether it's Lee, Wahlstrom, or a player outside of the organization to management to find, that will be key to his success. It's most likely that the team will try to get a bonafide goal scorer to fit next to him, but what if the reverse expected result happened?

If we take a few steps back to his 2017-18 season, on the power-play we mostly saw him play in the aforementioned "Ovechkin-spot." But of course, he wasn't shooting as much as, say, Wahlstrom would in that spot; he's dishing out cross-ice passes along with passes behind the net.

Barzal most certainly had a down year this season with only 15 goals and 59 points, but a breakout season has to be coming sooner or later. He has mostly hovered around 60 points a season ever since his sensational rookie season where he won the Calder Trophy, and that needs to change for both his own and the team's success.

His breakaway speed is enough to warrant fear in the eyes of defenders, which is something we really have not seen from Barzal often as of late. He would elect to slow up and slow the play down when it looks like he has a chance to open the ice up, and that's something we rarely saw when he came into the league. Most likely some influence from Barry, but again, he is no longer with the team.

Islanders fans this season may not know what to expect at all when it comes to how much this team will improve with goal scoring and taking risks every once in a while. But one thing is for sure, the Islanders' identities of capitalizing on opponents' mistakes, being hard to play against, and proving people wrong can surely propel players to find newfound success and help them in their quest to reclaim a top spot in the Metro this season.

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