Anthony Beauvillier’s season started at the same pace he left off in 2016-17, but a brief trip to the minors turned the young stud into a whole new player.
The 20-year-old forward taken 28th overall in the 2015 NHL draft started the year scoring at the same pace he left off from the 2016-17 season with four goals, three assists and seven total points in 31 games with a -9 rating.
Everything changed in the new year for him, as he was reassigned to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL after the Isles game against the Avalanche on New Year’s Eve. He played just three games with the Tigers, registering two goals against the Rochester Americans in a 3-2 OT loss before his recall. The brief stint was enough, however, and Beauvillier emerged a completely renewed player.
Slow to Start
Beauvillier would not have ended where he did had it not been for the demotion and the start which warranted the kick in the rear.
While Beau entered the year with 66 games of experience and a full season in the rearview mirror, the sample size was still too small of a foundation for the forward to build off of.
In fact, Beauvi’s initial struggles in the NHL were eerily similar to the behavioral patterns displayed by Josh Bailey before his breakout year in 2016-17 given how effective the turnaround was for him.
All it took was a dash of discipline and a heaping dose of confidence-building motivation to be the player he envisioned himself as. As all kids do, Beau’s energy in his first season-and-a-half in the NHL was full of raw, untapped potential a trip to the minors helped bring out.
Unfortunately, it took him and the Isles 31 games to come to this conclusion which seemed more than clear after the 20th or so.
On the night of Jan. 7 in what would be a 5-4 Islanders shootout win over the New Jersey Devils, Beauvillier made his return to the roster after a week in the AHL.
In the second period, with the Devils tying the game at one apiece, Beau’s roofed a pass from Mathew Barzal and put the Isles ahead 2-1 and hinted at how the rest of the season would pan out for him.
From that night on, Beauvillier’s scoring pace reached all-new levels with 17 goals and 29 points in just 40 games after his stint in the minors. Adjusted to a full-season scale, Beauvi was on pace to net 34 goals and 58 points.
A large part of this is largely thanks to the chemistry he developed with both Barzal and Jordan Eberle who are all heading to the 2018 IIHF World Championship. The trio of players combined for over 150 points and were hands down the most consistent line for the Islanders through the entirety of the season.
Additionally, his -9 rating was eradicated and managed to finish +2 on the season thanks to rocking a +11 during those next 40 games.
When it’s all said and done, Beauvillier had a remarkable turnaround which amounted to a pretty solid season for the sophomore. Beauvillier ended the year as a 20-goal scorer, with 21 goals and 36 points playing on the second line.
However, it did take the first half of the season for Beauvillier to emerge as the player he is and while his play certainly improved, it remains to be seen if he can apply his new-found pace to an 82 game season.