Last July, New York Islanders fans were begging general manager Garth Snow to make a deal for then-hot commodity Matt Duchene. As we all know, the Ottawa Senators, who the New York Islanders face off against tonight at 7, traded for Duchene in the most bizarre of moves, but the Isles were very much in the Duchene race. The Islanders looked like they were in dire need of a second line centerman, but looking back on it, Garth Snow made the right move, by putting his trust in 20-year-old rookie, Mathew Barzal.
Just by looking at the stats, the proof is in the pudding, Mathew Barzal is the better player. Dating back to when the trade was made, when Matt Duchene was taken off of the ice at the Barclays Center (which I got to see live), Barzal has outscored Duchene by a crazy margin. In Duchene’s seven games as an Ottawa Senator, Duchene has tallied a grand total of ZERO points with a +/- of -10. The numbers Duchene has been putting up have been absolutely abysmal, nothing even close to what Mathew Barzal has been doing for us.
Barzal has been amassing crazy amounts of points recently, and in his 8 games since the infamous trade happened (not even counting the 5 assists he tallied the night Duchene was ushered out of the Barclays Center) Barzal has amassed 3 goals and 6 assists, totaling for 9 points. Barzal also leads the rookie point scoring race (tied with Brock Boeser at the moment) with 22 points, as well as leading the race in assists with 16.
Mathew Barzal has been doing things that Islanders fans weren’t even dreaming of before this season started and has exceeded everyone’s wildest expectations. Barzal is currently at a point-per-game pace, something John Tavares wasn’t able to do during his rookie season and is letting everyone know why he should be a cornerstone on this New York Islanders team.
On the flip side, Matt Duchene has been a giant let down for the Ottawa Senators, contributing nothing offensively and being a total liability defensively. However, we will see which of these players has the better showing tonight, as the puck drops between the New York Islanders and Ottawa Senators at 7 PM.