New York Islanders winger Anthony Beauvillier was in the midst of a bounce-back season before the NHL shutdown occurred.
Overall, he was having a very strong 2019-20 campaign before the season came to a halt as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. In 68 games played this season, Beauvillier has scored 39 points, coming in the form of 18 goals and 21 assists.
He scored a career-high 21 goals during the 2017-18 season and would have at least matched that number under normal circumstances. His assists, however, are what stand out most. Beauvillier has never notched more than 15 assists in a season and he already passed that number this year.
His linemate, Brock Nelson, having a fantastic year is a big reason why this is the case, but that doesn’t discount Beauvillier’s much-improved play.
The soon-to-be 23-year-old is currently one of New York’s best forwards and looks like a different player than he did last season. His size and speed are making him a tough matchup for opposing defenders and wingers.
He’s incredibly creative in the offensive zone — his speed allows him to accelerate and make timely plays in front of the net.
Beauvillier’s 2019-20 season was filled with ups-and-downs and even though he’s clearly improving, he’s still exhibited inconsistency, at times.
For example, in his last 14 games before the season stoppage, he recorded just three points and was a defensive liability. Of course, the Islanders as a team fell off and began to underperform as the season went on.
Even so, Beauvillier cooling off during the team’s struggles wasn’t ideal for anyone. Nevertheless, the Canadian-born winger’s uptick in performance has some wondering if he has what it takes to move up to the first line.
Beauvillier and Mathew Barzal, the Islanders’ star player, produce more points than basically any duo on the team. Beauvillier’s very good play coupled with the fact that captain Anders Lee has been underwhelming may be reason enough for head coach Barry Trotz to shuffle the lines.
The Islanders have work to do when they face off with the Florida Panthers in a best-of-five play-in series when the NHL officially picks up again.
Teams don’t have the luxury of going cold in the playoffs so the Islanders must find a way to emerge from this hiatus as a better team than when the league came to a halt. Beauvillier will feel all of that pressure just like his teammates.
In any case, Beauvillier is in the first season of a two-year deal and at this rate, fans should expect him to sign a long-term contract in the not-too-distant future.
After all, the Islanders have been and are still looking for a productive forward to add to the mix, so locking up a homegrown winger like Beauvillier should be a no-brainer.