New York Islanders: FOCO set to Release Limited Edition Mat Barzal Bobblehead

new york islanders, matt barzal

The New York Islanders have become one of the top teams in the NHL recently. Some say this is due to their Head Coach Barry Trotz. Others say it’s because of the moves that General Manager Lou Lamoriello has made to acquire fresh talent. But, coaches and managers can only do so much, the players are the ones that determine the outcome of a team’s season. One player on the Islanders has stood out as the team’s best and a top player in the league as a whole. This player is Coquitlam’s own, Mat Barzal. Barzal has taken the league by storm since his debut in 2017. FOCO, the leading manufacturer of sports and entertainment merchandise, has seen Barzal’s dominance and have honored his play with a new bobblehead.

Reviews

This bobblehead of Mat Barzal is spot on. The attention to detail, whether it be his rocking flow or the classic Islanders logo, FOCO did a terrific job when creating this bobblehead. I, myself, bought some of FOCO’s New York Knicks bobbleheads earlier this year, and it’s 100% worth the $50. I added a new Julius Randle to my impressive collection of Anders Lee and AHL Matt Martin bobbleheads. Mat Barzal’s gifts on the ice are god-given, and the same goes for FOCO’s designers’.

Price and Availability

This bobblehead is a limited edition item, and when I say limited, I mean limited. There are only 144 of these bobbleheads created, and they will sell fast. At the small price of just $50, you can be one of the only people in the world to own this beautiful bobblehead. Again, these bobbleheads will sell fast, so be ready to pounce on them. The bobblehead will be going live for sale on 4/21/2021 at 11:00 AM EST on FOCO’s official website. If you’re not on https://www.foco.com at 11 AM EST on 4/21/2021, you can kiss your dreams of having a limited edition Mat Barzal bobblehead goodbye.

New York Islanders: Predictions for the 2021 season

 Anthony Beauvillier , New York Islanders

The New York Islanders season finally begins tonight after a 3-month layoff since their last game. I just want to say what a great job the NHL has done handling Coronavirus. Not a single league, other than maybe the UFC, has handled COVID-19 better than the NHL.

Back to the Islanders. This 2021 Islanders team is basically the same team as the 2020 team, but it feels different. With additions of Ilya Sorokin and other 3rd liners. The development of Noah Dobson, Oliver Wahlstrom, and Kieffer Bellows. This team, on paper, looks better than the 2020 team, even without Devon Toews. Hockey is finally back, and with a new season comes new predictions.

Top New York Islanders predictions for the 2021 season:

Mat Barzal Bounces Back

It’s weird when a pro-athlete scores 60 points in 68 games, and it’s a down year. But this just shows how talented Mat Barzal really is. My biggest critique of Barzal at one point was the fact that he never shot the puck. Barzal would always pass it to someone who was covered instead of taking an open shot. Barzal only took 170 shots last year, he needs to take around 220 in a full season. But then the playoffs came, and he finally started shooting the puck. And when a dangerous player gets the puck on the net, good things happen. With a good backcheck and some more effort on defense, it looks like Barzal could become a top center in this league.

Anthony Beauvillier Leads the Team in Goals

This is somewhat of a bold prediction due to the goal scoring talent at the center position. Brock Nelson, JG Pageau, and Mat Barzal are normally the ones who lead the team in scoring. But, there’s something undeniable in the way that Beauvillier plays. He’s a baby flame who’s just getting ready to scorch the whole house. With linemates like Josh Bailey and Brock Nelson, there’s a big possibility that this can happen.

Adam Pelech gets in the Norris Trophy Race.

Adam Pelech has been the Islanders’ best-kept secret for the longest time. Pelech is probably the most underrated defenseman in the entire league. I would go as far as to say that Pelech is the most important player on the team. The Islanders slumped so terribly when Pelech got hurt the Isles went 10-13-7 and let up around 3 goals a game. But, when Pelech’s healthy, they went 25-10-3 and let up only around 2.5 goals a game. If the Norris trophy actually focused on defense, Pelech would’ve won it by now.

Ilya Sorokin Wins the Calder

The rookie of the year goes to the 25-year-old Ilya Sorokin. There’s actually zero doubt in my mind about this. The only thing that may be holding him back is the fact that Varlamov is the starter. Sorokin was the best goalie outside of the NHL. Now that he’s here, I don’t know if anyone can stop him.

New York Islanders: Reaction to Mat Barzal’s new contract

New York Islanders, Mat Barzal

The day all New York Islander fans have been waiting for is here. Franchise center Mat Barzal has finally re-signed. It’s been months of questions, and none of these questions have been answered until today.

Barzal signs a 3-year deal worth $7 million dollars per. It’s a bridge deal, which everyone expected, and it ends in 2023 when the Isles are out of cap trouble. Barzal’s contract breakdown reads as such: $3 million dollars in 2021 plus an extra $1 million dollars for signing. $7 million dollars in 2022, and $10 million dollars in 2023. Barzal has missed 4 days of training camp so far. Will, the lack of preparation hurt Mat Barzal’s performance?

Barzal’s Preparation

Mat Barzal is a professional Hockey player. Do you really think he wouldn’t be prepared to play? Barzal has been skating with former Islanders, Dennis Seidenberg and Johnny Boychuk. Along with current Islander, Tom Kuhnhackl. Barzal was also skating around with different NHL players before training camp began.

When people prepared for something the way Barzal has, they care about that something. Mat Barzal stated in an interview today that he loves Long Island and never thought about going anywhere else. He also stated that the negotiations were very fair for both sides, and he knows he has to work on his consistency.

Barzal’s Performance

My coach, Matt Johnson, also said, “big players make big plays in big-time games.” Well, today wasn’t a big-time game, but Barzal made some big plays. In just two shifts, Barzal managed to score two goals and make Noah Dobson look lost. There’s no denying the talent that Barzal possesses, but there definitely was some concern about performance after missing four training camp days. It’s time to put those rumors to rest; Barzal looks perfectly fine. All he has to do is back check better, and the long term deal with the Isles he wants will be on the table in 2023.

New York Islanders: Mat Barzal contract negotiation update

Mathew Barzal, New York Islanders

New York Islanders training camp started today, and to everyone’s surprise, they still haven’t re-signed franchise center Mat Barzal. Contract negotiations resumed just last week after the all the dates were announced. Regardless of this, Barzal could sign any day now. General manager Lou Lamoriello and fellow Islanders’ teammates believe that Barzal will sign within the coming days.

Mat Barzal is currently on Long Island and is quarantining in hopes of joining his team immediately after signing his contract. Everyone around the Isles are confident in Barzal’s new contract, but the terms of the deal have not been finalized.

When I think about this contract, I look at similar players around the league. Players like Mitch Marner and Pierre-Luc Dubois. These elite players got bridge deals after holding out for many, many months. Mat Barzal is no exception to this trend. Barzal is 100% looking at a 2-3 year deal. This helps both sides. The Islanders get time to resign all their guys like Anthony Beauvillier, Adam Pelech, and Ilya Sorokin to long term deals. While Barzal can earn even more for a longer period of time-based on his play for the next few years. A bridge deal is the only deal in play here.

Amount

Excuse me if I sound like a broken record here, but the Islanders don’t have a ton of salary cap. The terms of Matt Martin’s contract has not come out yet. The same thing goes for Andy Greene.

I assume it’s either the league minimum or very close to it. So, this leaves the Islanders with about $7.5 million dollars left to sign their franchise center. This is probably not enough to sign Barzal. But Lou Lamoriello can just send someone down or put Andrew Ladd on LTIR and solve this cap space issue. I believe the deal will come in at around $8.5-$9 million dollars. So, my final prediction for Mat Barzal’s new contract is 3 years worth $8.7 million a year.

New York Islanders: Mat Barzal contract negotiations update

Mathew Barzal, New York Islanders

New York Islanders‘ franchise center, Mat Barzal is due for a new contract this year. NHL free agency is about to start, so time is ticking to get a deal done. Should Islanders fans worry about Barzal leaving?

My answer: nope, shouldn’t even think about it. Mat Barzal isn’t leaving no matter what; he physically can’t leave. Barzal won’t even make it to a point where he would receive an offer sheet. Lou Lamoriello has got this in the bag, but what does the deal look like? Everything in this article is based on NRD’s most recent report.

Salary

The two sides haven’t reached a number that works for everyone. It’s similar to the Andrei Svechnikov situation. Lou Lamoriello is looking to reach a deal worth $7.5 million a year. But, Barzal’s camp has decided that that number is not large enough for their liking. Do not fear Islanders fans, both sides are very optimistic about getting a deal done soon. The threat of an offer sheet is reportedly very low. My guess is that the camp is looking for a contract around $8-$9 million range. Lou Lamoriello will figure something out, he always does.

Length

The length is not what everyone wants it to be. I can guarantee this won’t be a 7-year deal. NRD has stated that they believe it will turn into a bridge deal. A bridge deal would help both sides.

Barzal’s side gets a good deal and the chance to earn even more money in around 3-4 years. The Islanders get their franchise player for cheaper than expected and can use the extra money to resign Pulock and Toews. The flat cap also makes this contract length more likely. The Isles need to penny-pinch if they want to keep this same team together. And now that the cap won’t increase for the next two years, a bridge deal is their best bet to do just that.

New York Islanders: Predicting the 3 big RFA contracts

Mathew Barzal, New York Islanders

The New York Islanders have to re-sign their “big 3,” and they need to be re-signed soon. This “big 3” will not be a cheap resign. Each of those three players is crucial to the Islanders’ success now and in the future. The deals will most likely be completed soon. No one has any idea what the negotiation status for all three players currently is because Lou Lamoriello doesn’t let anything slip. But, for the sake of argument, let’s imagine what these deals would look like.

Three potentially big RFA contracts for the New York Islanders:

Mat Barzal

The franchise player, the golden boy, the fastest player in the NHL. Mat Barzal deserves a hefty contract right now due to his recent play. Do I think Barzal could be playing better? Definitely, but he’s only 23 years old, which is scary. I think this deal will be a bridge deal. What do I mean by this? A bridge deal is almost like a “prove that you deserve all our money” deal. So, instead of a 7-8 year deal, I believe it will be a 3-4 year deal. So, when the deal is over, Barzal can cash in on big money. Right now, due to cap concerns, the Isles can’t throw all their money at Barzal. But, Barzal knows this by now and will take a discount to help the team win. Final deal: 4 years, $8 million.

Ryan Pulock

The best defender needs a new contract, and he earned big money. The fact that Pulock isn’t an all-star is absolutely mindblowing. Ryan Pulock deserves at least $5.5 million. But, Pulock will probably get more than that. I think Pulock will get around 5-6 years. No reason to let Pulock possibly leave in 3 years. Isles must sign their best defender for a long time. Final deal: 6 years, $6.5 million.

Devon Toews

The Islanders have a growing star here in Devon Toews, and they need to lock him up for a little while longer. Toews doesn’t deserve big money yet, but he has earned a decent contract. I’m thinking around $3.5-$4 million, and that’s a little generous. The number of years will be around 4. I think it’s a solid bet that Toews’ deal will get done first. Final deal: 4 years, $3.5 million.

New York Islanders: Team Awards Part 1 (Hart Trophy)

New York Islanders, Brock Nelson

The New York Islanders‘ season is officially over. And as sad as it is to hear that for Isles fans, the team took a huge leap this year. There aren’t questions on if the team can make a deep run, but the question is how far now. The Hart trophy is the trophy given to the MVP of the NHL. There is no one on the team who was in contention for the award, but team awards still exist. I will include playoff performance here as well. So, without further introduction, let’s see the winner and runner-ups of the Hart Trophy for the Isles.

Brock Nelson

Brock Nelson was the best player on the Islanders this year, so he takes home the Hart trophy. He finished on 5 points behind Barzal in the regular season. Nelson possesses the best shot on the team by far, and he’s arguably the best two-way forward as well. Nelson’s forechecking is absolutely phenomenal, it’s what makes the 2nd line so dangerous. His playoff play wasn’t superb, but scoring isn’t everything. Nelson is the best shooter, 2nd best faceoff guy, a great penalty killer, and one of the most dangerous weapons the Isles have.

Mat Barzal

I only have to say this once, but when Mat Barzal learns to shoot more, he will win the Art Ross trophy year after year after year. Barzal is outright deadly when he shoots; the problem is, it’s sporadic. Barzal had to be triple-teamed against the Lightning, and still, he got by every one. He’s the best passer in the NHL. He’s one of the fastest skaters in the NHL. The best part is, he’s only 23. The Islanders have a gem in their hands who can become one of the very best very soon.

Anthony Beauvillier

There was a point in the offseason where I said, “there’s no reason for Beau to get resigned; he’s not going to develop soon enough.” Wow, did he prove me wrong. Beauvillier always was the guy for the Islanders all throughout the season. His forechecking is unmatched by anyone. He’s the 2nd fastest player on the team. Beau’s shot has improved vastly; it used to all be just five-hole shots, now he can pick his corners. He’s insanely smart with the puck and creative off the puck. Beau produced tons of memorable moments for the Isles, especially in the playoffs; it’ll be awesome to see him continue to grow.

New York Islanders: 3 Key Players to Game 3’s Win

Adam Pelech, New York Islanders

Impressive is almost an insult to how the New York Islanders played in game 3. The Flyers maybe won all of 10 minutes out of a possible 60. This game was a swing game, meaning whoever won gets all the momentum in the series. The Islanders got all the momentum and then some. There were three key players to their win, and their play was sensational, to say the least.

Mat Barzal

Mat Barzal missed two golden scoring opportunities in 20 seconds. Barzal made up for this by collecting an assist on the Islanders’ first goal of the game. It’s not easy being double-teamed, especially in Hockey, but Barzal makes it look like it’s an average morning skate. Barzal has woken up since the Florida series. He used to be the turn over machine, but now he’s opening up the offense. Barzal is making smart plays, especially on the power-play, and when Barzal is on his “A” game, the whole team is.

Semyon Varlamov

Islander fans everywhere were frightened to see a repeat performance from game 2 out of their goalie. Varlamov was on his head the entire game. Nothing phased him, not one shot. Varlamov made it look very easy tonight, and that’s a relief to Islander fans. You can’t go far in the playoffs with bad goalie play, just ask the St. Louis Blues. Varlamov got the job done in game three and possibly may play again in game 4.

Adam Pelech

Who’s the most underrated player in all of Hockey right now? If you guessed anything other than Adam Pelech, you’ve guessed wrong. When the Islanders lost Pelech, the team suffered heavily and got away from Islanders Hockey. Now that he’s back, the Islanders are the most dangerous team remaining. Pelech has amazing stick skills, and he’s strong on the puck. Not only is Pelech solid defensively, but Pelech also creates a ton of offense from his neutral zone play. He did it last game on JG Pageau’s game-tying goal, and he did it this game as well. Adam Pelech continues to be one of the best-kept secrets in the NHL.

Honorable Mentions

The captain Anders Lee has arrived, and when your captain scores every game, you better believe the team follows. Lee has six goals now in the playoffs; for someone who disappears typically in the playoffs, Lee has been “captain clutch.” Derick Brassard played a great game as well. Set Leo Komarov up for his goal, when he kept the puck in the offensive zone with 10 seconds left. Glad to see the 3rd line wingers creating offense.

Conclusion

The Islanders have two more wins left to close out this series and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1993. The Islanders are real contenders, and the NHL better start respecting them.

New York Islanders: Islanders take Game 3

New York Islanders

The New York Islanders defeat the Washington Capitals in overtime with a score of 2-1 to make the series 3-0. The Islanders made the Capitals play their style of Hockey today, and it worked. No team in the NHL can beat the Islanders in a defensive matchup. The only way to beat the Isles is to outscore them. But, if Seymon Varlamov has a game like he did today, they’re pretty much unbeatable.

The Islanders are in a great position to sweep the Capitals on Tuesday night. The mindset for the Isles right now is: “We’re up 3-0, we’re dominating board play, playing great defense, Varlamov is standing on his head, let’s just play our game.”

This team is a system team, without Trotz who knows where the Isles would be. But, the only way the system works is if everyone buys in. That’s why in the post-game press conference Mat Barzal said “the 4th game is the hardest, but we just gotta buy into the system”. The system is an easy, yet complicated one. All Trotz asks is for his players to forecheck hard, play tough in the neutral zone, and make smart passes. This system doesn’t lead to 30 goal goal-scorers, but it leads to championships if you buy-in.

The Islanders have very little work to do to win game 4. Especially if Nicklas Backstrom is still out with a concussion. The Islanders need to stay on their toes, don’t take any stupid penalties, and wait for their opportunity to arise.

None of these players are true “snipers,” but you don’t need snipers if you can get gritty goals. The Islanders play within the dots, real rough and tough Hockey, so they don’t necessarily need a sniper. If the Islanders play their game again and buy into the system, there will be a sweep coming.

New York Islanders: Analysis of the Game 1 Win vs the Capitals

New York Islanders, Islanders

Game 1 to the Island, as the immortal Brennan Burke call goes. The New York Islanders defeat the Washington Capitals with a score of 4-2 to take a 1-0 lead in the series. The Capitals played a solid 40 minutes of Hockey, but the Islanders played an excellent final 20 minutes to take the game. The Islanders looked sloppy most of the night. There were a bunch of bad penalties, mishandled passes, bad breakout attempts, and more. Despite this, it all came down to who wanted the win more. This is how the Islanders won.

More Shots

The Islanders are notorious for taking minimal shots on goal during games. This seemed to be the case during today’s game, as they only had two shots in the first period. The Islanders started to pick up the pace after TJ Oshie’s second powerplay goal. This would ultimately lead to a Jordan Eberle wrister that would somehow sneak in over Braden Holtby’s left shoulder. As the 3rd period started, Islanders fans saw a spark in their team’s play. The Islanders began to dictate the pace of the game, and make it an all Islanders period. The Islanders would end up scoring three more goals during the 3rd period and seal the win. You can’t score without shooting.

A Quicker Pace

The Islanders have some of the fastest players in the league, like Mat Barzal and Anthony Beauvillier. If a game breaks down into a fastbreak opportunity galore, the Islanders will win that game. The Capitals are a good team, but they’re not fast enough to keep up with the Islanders’ young guns. The Islanders kept the pressure on in the 3rd period, and it led them to many great high percentage scoring chances. The Islanders would make the best of those chances and score three goals, as previously stated.

5v5 Play

I don’t know what it is about Barry Trotz’s system, but it is insanely hard to outplay the Islanders when they’re at full strength. Especially recently, the New York Islanders haven’t been outplayed 5v5. If the Capitals weren’t gifted seven powerplays, there could’ve been a shutout in the works. The Islanders look very strong in all facets of the game and didn’t let up any easy chances.

Conclusion

Winning game 1 of any series is a huge victory. It takes the pressure of off game 2, and it allows you to be more aggressive in your approach. Islanders fans certainly feel relief with a 1-0 series lead.