New York Islanders: Which is the real Anthony Beauvillier?

Anthony Beauvillier, New York Islanders. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Anthony Beauvillier, New York Islanders. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

New York Islanders forward Anthony Beauvillier has been two different players. He’s shown flashes of brilliance yet doesn’t score many points.

After a surprising 2018-19 season which saw the New York Islanders Islanders post 105 fifth-best in the NHL, they are off to a so-so 3-3 start this year. Their play has been up and down in the first six games. The same could be said for their second-line left wing Anthony Beauvillier, who has also been uneven to start the 2019-20 campaign.

The first three games Beauvillier scored four points. Among them was a great game against Winnipeg on October 6, in which he scored a goal and added a power-play assist. The next three he was held pointless, including a -3 performance against the Canes on October 11. Which player is Beauvillier, the one who was a force against the Jets or the one who was eaten up by Carolina?

Actually, his career has gone the same way. Beauvillier scored 36 points in 2016-17, including 21 goals. It looked as if he was on the rise. Then last season, he backslid down to 28 points. If there is a partial reason for the decline, it was probably a tough adjustment for him to new head coach Barry Trotz’ defense-first system.

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Before the season, I did a New York Islanders Top 10 under 24 years old and Beauviller was second on the list behind only Matthew Barzal. Beauvillier was ranked so high because of his off the charts skill set. The 2015 first-round pick (28th overall) can fly on the ice. Additionally, he has top-shelf puck-handling and playmaking ability.

Once again, which is the real Anthony Beauvillier? It’s probably neither and both. This is the NHL, home of the best players in the world. Unfortunately, despite his many skills, Beauvillier isn’t going to be one of them. He is however good enough to win some matchups and on a few occasions step up when his teammates are also playing well.

A few rough comparisons to Beauvillier’s output so far can be found not too far from The Barclay’s Center in Pavel Zacha of New Jersey, and Pavel Buchnevich of the Rangers. They are also two highly skilled plays who befuddle their respective fans with their lack of scoring. Their tantalizing flashes of brilliance only serve to drive their coaches nuts.

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Going forward, New York Islanders fans will get a 40-ish point per-season player. It won’t go much higher than that as long as Trotz is behind the bench. At this point, it seems unlikely he’ll get a substantial raise from the team when he becomes a restricted free agent after the 2021 season.