Putting together an NHL roster is an interesting dynamic. While it seems obvious that one would select their best 23 players in the organization it is not that simple. Even removing the aspect that all the positions must be filled there are many logistical issues that must be dealt with. One issue the Isles are dealing with right now is the agreement with the Canadian Junior Hockey Leagues. There is a two year stretch where players are eligible to play in either the Juniors (OHL, WHL, QMJHL) or the NHL. During this time, they agree to an NHL contract that does not begin, until a player has played in ten professional games (not juniors). During that two year stretch they are ineligible to play in the AHL (minors), and once they are sent back to juniors they are there for the entire season. The Islanders are currently dealing with two players in this situation; Mathew Barzal and Anthony Beauvillier.
Even though Mathew Barzal has played only two games with the Islanders, this is still the best way to handle his season. He is best off spending as much time in the NHL as he is allowed. Barzal last season had 88 points in 58 games with Seattle in the Western Hockey League. There is nothing else for him to do in that league as far as the Islanders are concerned. He can go back and be more than a point a game player but the competition level is beneath him at this point, going back to play early season games is something that will not help his development in the least. Even practicing with the Islanders at this point is better for his development. A trip back to Seattle will only exile one of this organizations best talents away for the entire season. Even if Barzal plays in only seven more games (to reach a maximum of nine before the first year of his Entry Level Contract counts) it would only benefit him in the long term. This team currently has gotten over its roster crunch so keeping a spot on the roster for Barzal does not hurt this team.
The most (only??) pleasant surprise of this early season has been the emergence of Anthony Beauvillier, so it is disappointing to see him scratched on Thursday night. The only reason he is scratched is because they have yet to decide if they want to commit to the full season with him. This is one of the most infuriating things that this front office does, they don’t commit and it seems like nobody is ever commended for their success. Frankly what more could have been expected out of him up to this point. Beauvillier (more than most) has earned his opportunity to play every night for the foreseeable future. Sending him back to the QMJHL is an insult to how well he has played since arriving at camp.
After two good efforts the Islanders put out a performance on Tuesday that gets coaches fired. Coming off a lackluster effort last Wednesday vs Montreal this team is drowning in the standings instead of making ground on this home ice heavy schedule. The last time the Isles got off to such a mediocre start, they made a shakeup by trading for Thomas Vanek. A new coach may be the shakeup they need especially if a big move can’t be made. The move won’t be made yet but the conversations may have started.
Current Temperature 60
Three Stars of the Week
3 Brock Nelson 1G 3A: Nelson has come out the gate as strong as any Islander forward. He is currently leading the team in scoring. The question will always be has he turned a corner or is he just on a hot streak right now.
2 Travis Hamonic 2G 1A. It is surprising to see Hamonic with two goals in the same week. He looked like a true goal scoring coming down the slot to beat Fluery last Thursday night. He did also try to mix things up Tuesday with a fight, which did not end well for him against Brian Boyle.
1 Shane Prince 2G 2A. Prince came back Thursday with something to prove. Thursday night he was clearly the best Islander on the ice skating all over the place. He had both a goal and assist in both Thursday and Sunday night’s games.
Here we remember an old Islander whom they will see in the coming week. This week’s old friend is Mark Streit of the Flyers. Streit was with the Islanders for four seasons and was a former captain. Streit’s time with the Islanders was an interesting one. He spent five years with them and was one of the few UFA’s (in their prime) the Islanders were able to bring in. When he played he played almost every game of the season. He missed the 2010-2011 season after hurting his shoulder in the September Blue and Orange scrimmage. Which has since moved to July and become a prospect game. As a puck moving defenseman along with the power play quarterback, he consistently averaged about half an assist a game. He would also get almost half of his points while on the power play. Streit since moving to the Flyers has remained a very similar player on the ice and currently has 3 goals and 5 assists already this season.