NY Islanders 2023-24 Player Report Card: Mat Barzal Reestablishes Himself as An All-Star

New York Islanders v Detroit Red Wings
New York Islanders v Detroit Red Wings / Nic Antaya/GettyImages

The 2023-24 season with the NY Islanders was unlike any other for Mat Barzal. Shifting from his natural position as a center to the wing, Barzal refound his touch as one of the league's most dynamic players and again established himself as an all-star.

*Read our previously Published player report cards: Sebastian Aho

NY Islanders 2023-24 Reports Card: Mat Barzal

There's no question that Barzal is one of the league's most skilled players, but that skill hasn't produced the results the Calder Trophy winner would have hoped for. Finishing with 85 points in his rookie campaign, Barzal failed to reach even the 70-point mark in his five seasons after.

But that all changed this season as a positional change and full-time partner in crime in Bo Horvat saw Barzal crack 80 points for the second time in his career and was named an NHL All-Star.

Known as a passer since entering the league full-time in 2017-18, Barzal made it a point of emphasis to shoot the puck more. His 240 shots on goal this season were 61 more than other season in his career. Shooting more resulted in more goals, finishing with 23 this season - a career-high. While pulling the trigger more often, Barzal remains a pass-first player, and his 57 assists were his second most only behind his rookie season.

While Barzal was far from the problem under Lane Lambert during the first half of the season, he really took over and seemed to mature more under Patrick Roy. He was trusted more in late-game scenarios where the Islanders were defending the lead - a situation he may have been pinned to the bench earlier in the season.

The chemistry between Barzal and Horvat was crucial to the Islanders march towards the playoffs this season, but the duo is missing a third option. Horvat is the best linemate Barzal has has since entering the league, but finding a third member for that top unit would help him take his game to the next level, and maybe make him a 100-point scorer in the future.

Final Grade: A