The NY Islanders are betting on themselves this season running it back with the same group of forwards that got them to back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2020 and 2021. One of those bets, and possibly their biggest bet, is relying on Anthony Beavuvillier as a top-6 contributor in 2022-23. It feels like every year since his rookie year, we've asked if the now 25-year-old forward is going to have a breakout season. And although he's had some big moments for the Islanders, he's come up short on breaking through as an impact top-6 forward.
In terms of individual success, 2021-22 was a disappointment for anyone not named Brock Nelson, Noah Dobson, and Ilya Sorokin. Perhaps, no one was more disappointing than Beauvillier last season who knows he can provide a lot more:
"Definitely disappointing, I feel like I kind of let my teammates down a little bit. I’m capable of doing much better things on the ice. I know that, and I think everyone knows that."- Anthony Beauvillier on his season
In 75 games, Beauvillier scored 12 goals and 22 assists. He scored three more goals in 28 fewer games in the prior season, but what was most disappointing was the drop-off in his production after a postseason in which he showed his ability to make an impact on a nightly basis. In the 2020 playoffs, Beauvillier tallied nine goals and 14 points in 22 games. He followed that postseason performance in 2021 scoring five goals and 13 points in 19 games. Showing up in the big moments such as scoring the game-winning overtime goal to force a Game 6 against the Lightning in 2021felt like the coming-out party for the Sorel-Tracy, Quebec native.
The expectation when Beauvillier signed his three-year, $12.45 million contract was that he was going to contribute like a top-6 forward. Having yet to break the 40-point plateau, it's hard to justify that Beauvillier has met those expectations despite the advanced analytics favoring his development prior to last season.
Part of the reason why Lane Lambert is now at the helm of the Islanders bench is that Isles GM Lou Lamoriello felt his team needed a "new voice" in order to succeed moving forward. He's still an excellent forechecker and responsible in his own end, but perhaps no one more than Beauvillier needed a change of pace in order to see his offensive game improve. Under Lambert, the assumption is the Islanders will still be a defensive unit with a little more offensive prowess. The Islanders will be depending on Beauvillier to contribute to that offense, especially if he's in a top-6 role.
Beauvillier found chemistry when he was moved to the right wing on the second line with Nelson and Anders Lee. Maybe he'll find his way back on Mathew Barzal's line, however, there's reason to believe the former can stick together after the success that trio found. In order for Beauvillier to justify his contract and the title of a top-6 forward, he'll need to break the 40-point plateau and then some. If Beauvillier can provide a lot more like he knows he can, 55-60 points would be a vast improvement.