Extending Mathew Barzal
Mathew Barzal broke onto the scene as the Calder Trophy winner the year before Lamoriello arrived on Long Island. Under Trotz, Barzal was asked to adjust and play a stronger, more consistent two-way responsible game within the confines of the Isles system.
Barzal became a more well-rounded player and experienced team success as the Isles won six playoff series in a three-year span. However, his offensive took a hit for it, and fans wondered whether Barzal would ultimately want to choose another city and another style of play when he became an unrestricted free agent.
After a frustrating 2021-22 season, Barzal had one year remaining on the three-year bridge contract. Signing him to a long-term contract was a focus for Lamoriello, and he didn't allow his potential extension to become a storyline during the season as he inked Barzal to an eight-year contract extension with an AAV of $9.15M a year.
"We expect a lot out of him. He expects a lot out of himself,” said Lamoriello of Barzal ahead of signing him to the extension. “And he’s worked very hard during the summer for that. You know, he’s without question one of our leaders, you know, without question, probably our most talented player, and he’s committed without question."
Lamoriello is banking on Barzal to continue to evolve and mature as a player worthy of the long-term commitment given to him. It's a move he had to make and one we'll watch play out for years to come.