In the 2022-23 NHL season, the NY Islanders finished with the first wildcard spot but would quickly get eliminated by the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. While it may not have ended the way many fans would have liked, there is also a lot to be happy about with this team, and Mathew Barzal is just one of those reasons.
*Read our previously published player report cards:
NY Islanders 2022-23 report card: Mathew Barzal
Heading into his first season after his eight-year contract extension, Barzal looked to replicate the year he had last season. In 2021-22, Barzal tallied 59 points off of 44 assists and 15 goals in 73 games played. Barzal finished this season with 51 points off of 37 assists and 14 goals. The interesting part here is he only played in 58 games this year due to an injury sustained in mid-February against Boston.
Prior to the injury, Barzal seemed to be on pace to come close to his career high, which was 85 points back in 2017-18 when he played in all 82 games. Had Barzal played in 25 more games this year, we could be having a completely different discussion right now. However, Barzal still continued to show why he is a first-liner on the Islanders. Even after missing 25 games, Barzal finished second on the team in assists with 37, and second on the team in points with 51 behind only Brock Nelson in both categories.
While some say he didn't deliver in the playoffs, it's tough to fault just him for that.
Returning from a pretty serious injury and jumping right into a massive playoff series against one of the NHL's best teams is not easy by any means. Even while he was still getting his bearings, he didn't have much help on the Islanders' offense, with Anders Lee, Bo Horvat, and countless others being non-existent.
With all things considered, and Barzal remaining atop the NY Islanders, he gets an A- for the 2022-23 season.