Mathew Barzal hasn't been a goal scorer, but he's been a goal producer, and that's all that matters. What more can we say about Barzal? The star center continues to impress and is picking up points at a rapid-fire pace this season, even if they're all of the same variety - assists.
According to NHL PR, only one player in Islanders history has recorded more assists than Barzal's 18 prior to their first goal of a season, defenseman Gary Nylund with 21 in 1989-90).
NY Islanders: Mathew Barzal is producing goals and that's all that matters
With his two more helpers Monday night in Ottawa against the Senators, Barzal became the first Islander in 38 years to have at least 18 assists in the first 17games. That year, 84-85, the Islanders had four reach that number (Mike Bossy, Brent Sutter, Pat LaFontaine, and John Tonelli).
The lack of scoring isn't due to a lack of effort, and there have been games where Barzal has been visibly frustrating - such as in Detroit - but the team winning 9 of 11 games has allowed that not be as much of a focal point as it would have been if the offense was slumping.
"I mean, I try to score every game, every shift. So yeah, as long as the play is there and the impact is there, it’s tough to be frustrated. “So yeah, just need one to fall. It'll come. "- Mathew Barzal
Barzal is now playing at a better-than-point-per-game pace, with 18 points in 17 games. He recorded 82 points (22G, 63A) during his Calder Trophy-winning rookie season, and while there was hope that he could approach those numbers in the loosened. Lane Lambert's system, doing so without finding the back of the net, is rather unconventional.
The longer Barzal goes without a goal, the longer he'll have to answer questions about not scoring a goal, but as long as his play-making skills are producing goals and the team is winning games, it'll be a dubious stat that is more quirky than concerning.