The New York Islanders opening night roster is in. Mathew Barzal and Anthony Beauvillier have made the Islanders. The next wave of talented young Islanders has commenced. Everyone in the NHL will soon find out the New York Islanders kids are alright.
Going into training camp most who follow the New York Islanders believed Mathew Barzal had a strong chance to make the team. After all, Barzal nearly made the Islanders opening night roster last year.
One person who is not surprised Barzal made the team is Las Vegas General Manager George McPhee. McPhee, of course, was part of the Islanders front office last two years. McPhee appeared on the Vegas Hockey Podcast (of which I am a co-host) and stated that Barzal was only going to need a year’s development in junior hockey, which he received last year. Interesting to note McPhee said the same for 2016 first round pick Kiefer Bellows.
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But the big surprise was Beauvillier. There wasn’t any talk that the kid from Québec would wind up on the opening night roster. However, given Beauvillier’s play in training camp and the pre-season games, he gave Garth Snow and Jack Capuano no choice.
Both Barzal and Beauvillier were first round picks in the 2015 draft. Barzal was the 16th overall selection, while Beauvillier was taken with the 28th pick. The Islanders did not have a first-round pick when 2015 draft began.
However, when the Oilers were on the clock at sixteen and with Barzal still on the board, the Islanders sent Griffin Reinhart to Edmonton for the 16th and 33rd overall picks. The Isles traded up from 33rd to 28th to select Beauvillier.
Both Barzal and Beauvillier are still teenagers. Both are nineteen. Both Barzal and Beauvillier had big years in juniors last year. Barzal in the WHL for the Seattle Thunderbirds and Beauvillier in the QMJHL for the Shawinigan Cataractes.
With their play during training camp, these two top prospects showed the Islanders brass their time is now.
Here to Stay?
The next big question regarding, Barzal and Beauvillier is are they here to stay? The Islanders have the flexibility still to send them back to juniors, as long as they don’t exceed nine games played.
Many factors tilt to the direction that the Islanders believe both kids are here for good. First, the Isles had to waive P.A. Parenteau to make room for Barzal and Beauvillier regarding the opening night roster. Parenteau was claimed by the New Jersey Devils. That took a hit to the Islanders depth at forward.
An important point to bring up as well is the Islanders brass does not want to fool around with these youngsters development and confidence. The Islanders learned that lesson the hard way with Nino Niederreiter.
Barzal and Beauvillier made the Islanders roster because they are ready for the NHL and can contribute to this team. That must be the role for both of these talented kids. All they have to do is play meaningful minutes on a nightly basis and contribute. If both can do that, it could mean a big season for the Islanders.