Mathew Barzal
Mathew Barzal
22-Year-Old CenterC
New York Islanders
2019 Fantasy Outlook
The 22-year-old wasn't quite able to replicate his point-per-game average from his rookie season in 2018-19, but credit that to the fact that Barzal took on a larger responsibility playing center on the top line without John Tavares. In 82 games, he posted 18 goals and 62 points while registering a minus-5 rating last season. As the Islanders' top center, Barzal drew the opposition's top defense pairing every night, which hurt his production for obvious reasons. New coach Barry Trotz stressing defensive structure over offense didn't help, either. Those same problems will be present for Barzal in 2019-20, so owners shouldn't expect him to return to a point per game level, but he's still a candidate for 20 goals and 70 points. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Islanders in September 2015.
Scores key PPG
CNew York Islanders
November 16, 2019
Barzal scored a power-play goal on his lone shot of the game in Saturday's 4-3 shootout win over Philadelphia.
Barzal buried a one-timer in the slot to pull the Isles to within 3-2 with six-and-a-half minutes left in regulation. It was his team-leading ninth goal of the season -- and first with the man advantage -- and extended his point streak to four games (3g, 3a). The 22-year-old has 17 points in 18 games and boasts a stout plus-13. Barzal looks to be on pace for a career season.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
After becoming the first rookie since Evgeni Malkin to play at least 75 games and average more than a point per contest, the sky appears to be the limit for the Calder Trophy winner. Barzal scored 22 goals and 85 points while playing in 82 games last season. However, it remains to be seen how the 21-year-old will handle the opposition's top defensive pairing on a nightly basis, as Barzal is projected to center the top line following John Tavares' departure. Keep an eye on who joins him. Barzal and Jordan Eberle made up a strong second line last season, and if Eberle joins Barzal with Anders Lee on the top line, the prized pivot at least figures to be consistent. All told, Barzal is now the best fantasy option from the Islanders and a rock-solid No. 2 in standard leagues.
The Isles drafted Barzal No. 16 overall in 2015 and gave him a two-game taste of the NHL this past season, though the B.C. native spent most of 2016-17 playing for Seattle of the WHL, where he averaged nearly two points per game despite managing only 10 regular-season goals. Barzal proceeded to dominate in the playoffs, racking up seven goals and 18 assists over 16 games en route to the WHL Championship. That performance is promising as the 20-year-old pivot looks to secure a regular role with the Islanders this season, but the NHL club is chock-full of centers and has a lot of players competing for roles on the wings as well. With the Isles’ youth movement in full swing, Barzal will be among a number of youngsters looking to establish themselves at hockey’s highest level, so training camp will be an important bellwether for him.
Barzal is one of if not the top rookie in the Islanders organization. He came close to breaking camp with the team last season and should have an even better chance to do so this October. He would likely start off as the Islanders third-line center but his future is certainly that of a top six forward. He will be unlikely to center the top line with the Isles as that job belongs to John Tavares but a switch to wing would also not be out of the equation if the Isles continue to be unable to find adequate skilled forwards to play on a line with Tavares. Barzal possesses all of the necessary skills (vision, speed, instincts) to be a player to be reckoned with for years to come. The only negative part of his game would be his size as he is on the small side but in today's NHL that is not necessarily a death sentence. This is a player to watch in keeper and dynasty leagues.
All you need to know about how the Islanders feel about Barzal is that they traded away prized defensive prospect Griffin Reinhart to get the chance to draft him. He's a skilled pivot with great vision, strong wheels, and fantastic offensive instincts. Barzal should be a top-six playmaker in the NHL, but it'll take a few years and about 20 pounds of muscle to get there. The Islanders are stockpiling offensive talent at both the NHL and minor-league level, so it may not be as easy for Barzal to make the team as it was just a year or two ago. Expect him to return to his junior team in the WHL this season.
More Fantasy News
Two-point night in win
CNew York Islanders
November 13, 2019
Barzal scored an even-strength goal and added a power-play assist in Wednesday's 5-4 win over the Maple Leafs.
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Playing like hot rookie season
CNew York Islanders
November 9, 2019
Barzal scored a goal and added an assist in Saturday's 2-1 win over the Panthers.
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Picks up goal, assist
CNew York Islanders
November 1, 2019
Barzal scored a goal on two shots and added an assist in a 5-2 win over Tampa Bay on Friday.
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Buries goal in win over Flyers
CNew York Islanders
October 27, 2019
Barzal scored his fifth goal of 2019-20 in a 5-3 win over Philadelphia on Sunday.
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Takes flight in Jets' building
CNew York Islanders
October 17, 2019
Barzal scored twice -- once on the power play -- in a 3-1 win over the Jets on Thursday.
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