The 2022-23 NHL season starts on Thursday, and it's a critical year for the New York Islanders. If the team takes another step back or even step sideways, it will become impractical and unlikely that management can keep the team as in tact as it remained this summer.
NY Islanders need Anthony Beauvillier to reach his potential this season
For team success, there needs to be individual success and players performing to their level from two seasons ago or even above. One of the names on the top of that list is Anthony Beauvillier.
Like most of the roster, Beauvillier is coming off a disappointing season, but his drop in performance was even more pronounced than many of his embattled teammates. Beauvillier put up just 12 Goals with 34 Points while carrying a -10 plus-minus in 75 games for the Isles. This is well below what both the Islanders and Beauvillier expected following his three-year contract extension last summer. For Beauvillier to be worth this and a future contract, he needs to be right around 20 Goals with 40-45 Points and a solid plus when it comes to plus-minus.
Needs Bounce Back
Believe it or not, Beauvillier is just 25 and was part of one of the Islanders' all-time first-rounds at the NHL Draft. Beauvillier was picked 28th overall, while his buddy Mathew Barzal was the 16th overall pick in 2015. Similar to Barzal, the Islanders want Beauvillier to be a core player for the organization for years to come, but he needs to prove that last year was a one-off in terms of production and that he's primed for a bounce-back season.
No one would say that the expectation for Beauvillier is to be a first-line winger. But the Islanders brass does expect Beauvillier to toggle between the second and third lines as a two-way winger and give them a strong 16 minutes a night while providing a solid source of secondary scoring.
Beauvillier is signed for this season and next year as well (2023-24) and then becomes an unrestricted free agent. Provided that Beauvillier returns to the caliber of player he showed in 2020 and 2021, it seems logical that next summer Lou Lamoriello and his agents will be working on another extension to solidify him as part of the team's top-six for years to come.
However, if Beauvillier repeats last year's disappointing season then that will be another matter entirely. If that were to happen it would be hard to believe Beauvillier will be part of the Islanders long-term. His job would probably be gobbled up by one of the Isle's young prospect forwards (Aatu Raty, William Dufour, Simon Holmstrom) who is not that far away from the NHL.
In a pivotal year for a number of players to show that last year was an aberration and not a regression. Beauvillier arguably has more to gain or lose than anyone on the roster.