Mathew Barzal
(Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

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.

Matt Di Giacomo

For the first time in his career, Mathew Barzal will be the lone representative for the New York Islanders at the 2019 NHL All-Star game.

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.

Grew up a diehard Islanders and Mets fan based out of Northern New Jersey. Concluding my Broadcast Communications degree at William Paterson University. WP Sportsdesk member, Stan Fischler correspondent, music buff and total Star Wars freak. Follow my social media handles to learn more. Matt Di Giacomo is a Staff Writer for the Islanders on Elite Sports NY. He encourages team discussion. Tweet him @mdigiacESNY and check out his reviews on YouTube.