Tonight marks the return of New York Islanders forward, Anthony Beauvillier. Beauvillier was injured on January 26th with a lower-body injury. Although Beauvillier was not off to a great start statistically, his missing presence has been a hole in the lineup.
At times in the 2020 playoffs, Beauvillier carried the Isles, playing with the energy and skill that made him a first-round draft pick in 2015. For most of his short career, Beauvillier has not put up the points of a typical top-six winger.
Under Barry Trotz, the Islanders find scoring by committee. Beauvillier is a very important piece to the team with his versatility and speed. The power play and penalty kill see a boost when he is in the lineup. Interestingly, the lineup has seen success with the shuffling of lines since he went down with an injury.
Beauvillier’s usual spot is on the wing with Josh Bailey, centered by Brock Nelson. Since the injury, Michael Dal Colle has found a home with Jordan Eberle on the wings of Nelson. Dal Colle has moved in and out of the lineup for most of his career, never really solidifying his spot. It would be a huge boost to the depth to have him settle in with this line.
But where does that leave Beauvillier?
Barry Trotz says you'll see Anthony Beauvillier play both on the second line and next to JG Pageau. So no set role for now. #Isles
— Joe Pantorno (@JoePantorno) February 16, 2021
Bailey was moved up to the top line with Anders Lee and Mathew Barzal. Lee and Bailey had a lot of success together playing with John Tavares in the past. Bailey has been off to a slower start, but the line has produced due to Barzal’s nine-game point streak. Lee has started to contribute to the scoresheet of late as well.
It would be intriguing to see Beauvillier slide into the top line for Bailey, but he might have more value playing wing on Pageau’s line.
The combination of speed, energy, and skill would make the third line a greater threat than it has been. Oliver Wahlstrom has been finding his game with consistent minutes and looks more confident every game, while Pageau has started to find the scoresheet recently, scoring important goals.
Beauvillier will bring the responsibility and energy that the third line needs to provide. However, if he finds chemistry with the other Pageau and Wahlstrom, he could provide a much-needed scoring threat to take the load off Barzal.
Either way, Beauvillier’s return should provide a boost to an already confident team as of late. The Islanders have a unique opportunity to make a deep run to insure themselves a playoff spot.
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