New York Islanders Top-10 players under 24

Oliver Wahlstrom, New York Islanders. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Oliver Wahlstrom, New York Islanders. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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New York Islanders
New York Islanders. Mathew Barzal. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

Mathew Barzal (22), Center, 2015 1st round, 16th overall

There is no surprise at the top. 2017-18’s winner of the Calder Trophy, as NHL rookie of the year, is an offensive force. Mathew Barzal has 147 points in 164 NHL regular-season games to prove it. Last year his total dropped by 23 points, but again the falloff could be attributed to Trotz’ focus on defense. He did, however, turn it up a notch in the New York Islanders eight-game playoff run with a pair of goals and five assists.

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NYI had two first-round picks in 2015, Barzal (16) and Beauvillier (28). Looking back, the New York Islanders definitely got a steal with Barzal at 16. No doubt New Jersey would take him now in a heartbeat over the player they chose at six, Pavel Zacha. The same goes for Florida who passed on him at 11 when they opted for Lawson Crouse.

By the end of the 2019-20 season, there will be a few more teams added to the “we should have drafted Barzal” list. While the 2015 draft will always be the McJesus draft, the Isles got a top apostle in Barzal.

It’s a pleasure to watch Mathew Barzal handle the puck. More so when he’s cycling, because he looks like an on-ice general, directing traffic. Very seldom will he make a poor decision. Barzal is a roadrunner-like fast skater who gets to top speed quickly. Once he gets in the offensive end, the British Columbia native can burn opponents with either a pass to an open teammate or by sending home a lightning-quick shot.

Already showing good leadership ability, Barzal will wear the New York Islanders “C” one day. He is very conscious of defending his own end, playing the full 200-feet. In addition, Barzal pays attention to the details and isn’t afraid to get into the gritty areas to make plays.