New York Islanders: Mat Barzal needs to Wake Up

Mathew Barzal, New York Islanders

New York Islanders‘ center, Mat Barzal has been playing terrible hockey against the Florida Panthers. It seems like every time Barzal gets the puck, he either turns it over or takes eight laps around the offensive zone and turns it over. A hockey team’s first line cannot be the worst line, especially a playoff hockey team. Mat Barzal needs to wake up right now, or the Islanders will not make a deep run for the cup.

What Barzal needs to Improve on

Mat Barzal leads the NHL in giveaways, and that is never a good thing. Barzal also never shoots the puck, can’t score if you don’t shoot. Barzal must learn from fellow youngster Anthony Beauvillier about shooting more often. Beauvillier has looked unstoppable during the playoffs, and he creates a bunch of chances for himself and others. Barzal must learn that if you get the puck on the net, a teammate will get a rebound and score. Anders Lee is paid $7 million dollars for tap ins, and Barzal never even sets him up for one. Barzal must also stop blindly passing behind himself. He always does that, and it leads to 3v2 opportunities.

How to Wake Him Up

Head Coach Barry Trotz needs to take Barzal off the first line for the next couple of games. Barzal needs to earn his ice time back, he cannot just be gifted with it. Jean-Gabriel Pageau should take over as the first-line center. Barzal should either man the second line or the third line. The same thing goes for captain Anders Lee, but that’s a different story. Trotz wants his best players to get the most time, not the players with the biggest name.


Mat Barzal must wake up right now if the Islanders want to make a deep run. Trotz knows what he has to do, and he will do as such. Hopefully, Barzal turns it around.