Scott Mayfield’s play has spoken for itself and this is why he, not Nick Leddy, owns the title of the New York Islanders’ most trusted defenseman.
Scott Mayfield played four games for Jack Capuano between November and January. After Doug Weight took over, Mayfield was in the lineup every day and morphed into a true NHL defenseman.
Mayfield recorded nine points (two goals and seven assists) in 25 games last season. Over an 82-game season he would have recorded 30 points. Working alongside Adam Pelech, the two formed a very solid third pair and guaranteed themselves roster spots for this season.
After a poor preseason Mayfield was scratched for the season opener in Columbus. But after a 5-0 thrashing by the Blue Jackets, Mayfield was in the lineup for the home opener against Buffalo, which resulted in a 6-3 win.
Mayfield has played all four of the Islanders games since then, and each game he continues to improve and become more of a force on the ice. He continues to keep Ryan Pulock in the press box.
Mayfield has been paired up with Thomas Hickey this season and the duo has quickly become one of Weight’s most trusted pairs. Mayfield’s physicality and offensive ability compliment Hickey’s ability to be a mastermind in the defensive zone.
Mayfield has chipped in more offensively, despite only one assist on the season, and he is a +2 as well. He’s faster and has moved the puck better than last season. But it’s not only the offensive side that has improved; defensively, Mayfield has shown drastic improvement.
Mayfield has played smarter and faster in the defensive zone. He is imposing his 6-foot-4 frame on opposing forwards at will and he hasn’t been caught out of position yet.
The Islanders have yet to give up an even-strength goal with Mayfield on the ice. This is the reason why Doug Weight trusts that pair possibly more than the top pair of Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk.
Who knows, maybe Mayfield ends up playing with Leddy on the top pair. But his play has spoken for itself and Mayfield certainly deserves that top spot.