Members of the media believe that New York Islanders forward Anthony Beauvillier could start the season in Bridgeport.
For all the chatter of how impressive Anthony Beauvillier was last season, there’s still a contingent of the Islanders media — Newsday’s Arthur Staple included — that believes he’ll start the 2017-18 campaign in Bridgeport:
“This would mean that Anthony Beauvillier starts the season in Bridgeport; I could see Barzal starting there if Beauvillier, as expected, plays his tail off at camp. This doesn’t mean the Islanders aren’t making any more moves before September or that they definitely are, just looking at what they’ve got now and trying to make sense of it.”
There are costs and benefits for everything, including having extra depth at forward. The way the roster is currently constructed, there are simply too many skaters for too few spots. Which means that somebody — in this case, Anthony Beauvillier — isn’t going to be happy when the season rolls around.
In his mailbag released on Friday morning, Staple penned that he expects Mathew Barzal to make the team over Beauvillier. It wouldn’t be much of a surprise that Barzal would make the squad — after all, he was tremendous with the Seattle Thunderbirds last season. But it would be a bit curious if Beauvillier didn’t make it.
Beauvillier, 20, scored 9 goals and added 15 helpers in 66 games for the Isles last season. The Sorel-Tracy, Quebec native impressed with his speed and offensive creativity. He played both wing and center and was solid on both ends of the ice.
Sure, he was a little inconsistent with his offensive production, and yes, he was a little undisciplined at times. But all in all, he had a very productive rookie season. He should only build on it in 2017-18… unless he doesn’t play for the big-league club out of the gate.
It’s not that there’s necessarily a more optimal player to start in Bridgeport. Besides for Barzal and Joshua Ho-Sang, everybody on the roster has loads of experience producing at the highest level (even Josh Bailey).
But it’s a shame that one of them would have to start the season outside of Brooklyn. Well, that is unless Garth Snow makes a trade. The defense has the same problem: too many defensemen for too few spots. So if he makes a deal, he could clear space and get something in return.
Of course, too much depth isn’t a bad thing. That’s something former New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin used to always say about his world-class defense. But hockey and football are two totally different sports. Guys are swapped in and out all the time in the NFL. That’s not the case in the NHL.
The other option, writes Staple, is for Beauvillier to impress so much in training camp that the coaching staff has no other option but to start him at the game’s highest level. But, as he also writes, there’s a chance the team makes a move before the season and avoids this conundrum.
No matter what ends up happening, it’s important to note that it won’t be the end of the world for anybody. Beauvillier will get his shot when injuries inevitably hit, or Barzal will spend a couple of weeks in the AHL getting acclimated to professional hockey. Either way, they’ll be fine.