Load it Up (Power Play)
It's the same argument when it comes to the power play. We all agree that Mathew Barzal is the team's best offensive player. But why is he being surrounded by inferior talent at 5on5 (Richard Panik) and more importantly when the team has a numerical advantage?
Here's who Mathew Barzal has lined up with on the power play over the last two games:
.vs Rangers: Beauvillier, Aho, Panik, Pageau
.vs Penguins: Beauvillier, Pageau, Palmieri, Salo
Wahlstrom isn't anywhere to be seen here. And that (to me) is shocking. Wahlstrom's skill set is perfectly suited for the power play. His xGF/60 and SF/60 on the power play is higher than anyone listed above through this season (including Barzal), Why he's not partnered with Barzal more frequently is beyond me.
I know Barzal and Wahlstrom are both right-handed but that honestly shouldn't matter. The Edmonton Oilers 2020-21 PP - the highest efficiency rate since 2016-17 at 29.5% - was operated basically entirely with lefties (3 of 5 were left-handed). Talent matters and not putting your best assets together when you have a numerical advantage needs to change for the Islanders.