NY Islanders Plus/Minus for 2023-24: Mathew Barzal entering the prime of his career

Carolina Hurricanes v New York Islanders - Game Four
Carolina Hurricanes v New York Islanders - Game Four / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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Most people just need to watch Barzal to understand what he is all about. He is one of the fastest skaters in the league, even beating out Connor McDavid in the fastest skater competition at the 2020 All-Star game, and he is the most agile player on the team by a mile with his big strides. The former 2015 16th overall pick is able to accelerate quickly even when his momentum is low, and is great at finding ways to draw defenders to him and dish the puck off to teammates.

Barzal's strongest attribute objectively is his playmaking ability. He is a pass-first player, and will often look to set up a teammate rather than take the shot himself. However, that does not mean Barzy doesn't have a good shot himself. It took him 20 games to hit the back of the net for the first time this past season, which means the 14 goals he scored came in a 38-game span before he got hurt. Barzal is also the most skilled player on the team when it comes to stick handling, making him a no-brainer to put in shootout situations with his deceptive backhand fake.

Many put his offensive production plateauing at around 60 points since his rookie season on him committing to the defensively strong system established by Barry Trotz, Lamoriello, and others. His rookie season may be seven seasons ago, but he immediately showed his game-breaking ability right out of the gates, and this past season showed that it is still certainly there.