Mathew Barzal, 21-year-old phenom, will represent the New York Islanders for the first of many NHL All-Star appearances in his young career.
Congrats @Barzal_97! ?
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) January 2, 2019
One of last week’s stars started his season off much like the entire Islanders team this season: struggling to adjust to new head coach Barry Trotz’s system. Coming off a Calder Trophy season thanks to a 20-goal, 85-point campaign, expectations were high for the sophomore center.
From puck drop and through November, Barzal potted his usual assists and a goal to go along with it, but he didn’t look at all like the sensation he was last season. A good example of this was when Barry Trotz sat Barzal for the rest of the Islanders’ 7-5 victory over the Rangers.
With the whole league well aware of his skill set, and pass-first mentality, Barzal has been getting the superstar treatment from opposing teams — three players on him at nearly all times.
In the month of November, Barzal went 2-7-9 with a minus-three in 13 games. While those numbers aren’t too shabby for your typical top-six player, they’re much too low for Barzal.
Fortunately, for the newly-crowned All-Star, this was indeed a December to remember.
In 14 games this past month, Barzal notched seven of his 10 goals, eight assists, and a plus-five rating. Last week, Barzal doubled his goal total, notched his first-career natural hat trick, and is currently riding a five-game point streak.