Semyon Varlamov’s hot start a great thing for the Islanders

For the Islanders to have a third consecutive winning season, several things are going to have to fall in their favor. And in a compacted 56-game season such as this year, getting solid goaltending is right there at the very top. So far, that’s been what we’ve seen from Semyon Varlamov.

The Isles’ number one goalie has gotten off to a fantastic start to the season albeit the small hiccup on Saturday night, where he was forced to miss the game against the Rangers after taking a shot off the mask in warmups. After yesterday’s 1-0 win over the Bruins, he’s now 2-0-0 to begin this year and hasn’t allowed a single goal in both of his starts.

He’s also now the only goaltender in franchise history to start a season with two straight goose eggs.

“I just think he’s really calm, that’s the No. 1 thing,” head coach Barry Trotz told reporters after the win. “I just thought early on he was a big reason why we got a win — he made some really good saves against a really good team. He just calmed our game.”

A lot of people had question marks as to whether or not Varlamov would emulate his play from the postseason, when he was outstanding and close to a fortress as possible. Three games in, he’s proven that performance was no fluke.

Per NYIHockeyNow’s Andrew Battifarano, Varlamov has allowed just three goals over his last four starts going back to the bubble. That amounts to 133 saves on 136 shots against.

This type of success early on from Varlamov could prove crucial as the season progresses on. The Isles are most likely going to be in a dogfight for one of the four playoff spots in the East division. So having quality goaltending from your presumed starter helps tenfold. And because Trotz’s club’s the last two seasons have been built on stable defense, and even more importantly, goaltending, it has greater significance.

Varlamov wasn’t the established starter in the regular season last year, having shared the goaltending duties with Thomas Greiss. Now Varlamov is top billing and it looks like he’s determined not to let it go.

“That’s the best result after two games that I’ve ever had,” Varlamov said. “I’ve never gotten back-to-back shutouts in the beginning of the season. I had some seasons were I felt great, but still the outcome was different. I’m pretty happy about the results.”

Ilya Sorokin was and is the hot shot goaltending prospect the organization finally got able to come over in the offseason. And while he did get shelled in his first NHL game on Saturday — a 5-0 blowout loss to the Rangers — Sorokin is still green and needs to be eased in. That’s where Varlamov’s hot start may also be a blessing in disguise as it takes the pressure off him.

It’s still early but Semyon Varlamov looks like he’s in the zone. His start to the season has been very encouraging.

In the the short and long term, that’s a great thing for him. More importantly, it’s a great thing for the Islanders.

Last night’s win marked the first time since November 2013 the Islanders defeated Boston on home ice. It wasn’t an underlying storyline going into the game, but it could prove huge going forward.

Said Ryan Pulock: “It seems like every time we play them it’s pretty tight. They play a structured game, a heavy game, kind of playoff hockey and we like to play that we too.”

The Isles will square off with the B’s another seven times in the next 53 games and they might all have the same style as what the two teams showed.

The Islanders penalty kill has been sensational to begin the year. They’ve allowed just one power play goal in 14 attempts. A lot of that improvement has resulted from J.G. Pageau and Anthony Beauvillier playing a role.

Pageau has also done it in the faceoff circle and finally got his first goal of the year which was the game-winner.

To take a quote from the legendary Clu Haywood of Major League: “Boy, you really knocked the crap out of that one!”

New York Islanders: Analyzing the win against the Boston Bruins

New York Islanders

The New York Islanders have put themselves back in the win column after squeezing past the Boston Bruins. This is the Islanders’ first home win against the Bruins in 8 years. The Islanders only managed to put the puck behind Tukka Rask once. But, they only needed one goal to win, as Semyon Varlamov played another excellent game. Varlamov has played so well this season that he now holds the Islanders franchise record for most minutes played without a goal allowed.

Statistically, Varlamov is the best goalie in the NHL right now, holding a 1.000 save percentage and a 0.00 GAA. There was some great play from a few players, and also some bad play from a few players. The Islanders will be analyzed as a team through each period, not by individual performances.

First Period

The Islanders just looked absolutely rusty in the first period. Only 2 shots on net all period, and not much offensive zone time at all. There were a bunch of turnovers committed, and the defensemen couldn’t hold the blue line to save their lives. The only player who shined in this first period was, of course, Semyon Varlamov. He stopped all 10 shots that came his way and just overall looked very calm in between the pipes. Also, the penalty kill looked very good again.

Second Period

This felt like the fastest period I’ve ever seen in Hockey. I’m not saying that the time went off the clock very quickly. But, the tempo was increased dramatically. There was no whistle for over 3 minutes at one point. Chances back n’ forth for each team, none of them converting, and the Islanders missed the net on almost all their chances. It was a setup period for what happened in the third.

Third Period

The Islanders finally pieced it all together in this period. It’s hard to beat a team where everyone is giving 100% on every single shift. Players like Anders Lee, Adam Pelech, and even Jordan Eberle gave it everything they had. Cal Clutterbuck hit everything in his vision. Matt Martin surpassed 3,000 career hits, putting him in the top 5 of hits among active players. Varlamov continued to be solid in between the pipes. The forwards jumped up in the neutral zone to force turnovers, and the defensemen pinched up behind them. This all led to the lone goal of the night, a J.G. Pageau tip-in. Sometimes all you need is a lucky bounce to win, I’m sure the Islanders are glad that it went their way.

This season feels the most important for the Islanders in a long time

The journey for the Islanders towards the franchise’s fifth Stanley Cup begins tonight. Excitement and anticipation for this year has been building for months now, but now the real thing begins.

So let’s be real. And what that means is acknowledging that the Isles are about to embark on their most important campaign in recent memory.

“I think for the team, the same thing goes, we were close last year, we had a taste of how close we can get to playing in a Stanley Cup Final,” Mathew Barzal said last week. “I think that it didn’t sit well with us afterward.”

The past two years have been wonderful and brought pride and respectability back to the franchise. But now the dynamic has shifted. The vibe is different, as it should be. The bar is higher then it’s been in a long time, and rightfully so. Almost in the same light as the organization was just before they began their dynasty, the Isles have reached the point under the where winning is now expected.

Forget about proving people wrong, which it seems they will have to do again because that’s how things just are outside these parts. No, that shouldn’t be the message. It should be not just contending for a Cup, but winning the silver chalice.

This Isles team are in a good enough position to possibly win it all.

It starts with the aforementioned Barzal, who will have all eyes on him after signing his new three-year deal that will pay him $7M a year. 2021 will be his fourth season in the NHL and all signs point to him breaking out and becoming a star. Then behind are Anthony Beauvillier, Anders Lee, Jordan Eberle and Brock Nelson, who are all expected to have huge seasons. The bottom-six should be better with a full season of J.G. Pageau, the fourth line being intact, and an injection of youth with Oliver Wahlstrom and Kieffer Bellows. And on the backend and in goal, they are strong. The introduction of stud netminder Ilya Sorokin and pairing him with his fellow countrymen Semyon Varlamov could give the club a big boost.

All of those things combined, along with this being the final chapter for the organization at Nassau Coliseum before they move into their new home at UBS Arena next season, and determining who will be here for the future in regards to the Seattle expansion draft, only add to the significance of this year.

The Islanders have had expectations coming into important seasons before. In 2013-14, they were coming off a first-round defeat to the Penguins the previous spring where they pushed them to the limit in six games. Many thought then they were ready to take another step, but they would falter that season and miss the postseason. 2016-17 saw them fail to qualify for the postseason in two years after making it to the second round for the first time in 23 years the previous year.

Now it’s different. The stability provided from Lou Lamoriello on down and world-class coaching from Barry Trotz and his staff are the reason why.

There’s a lot at stake for the Islanders this season. It’s their most important season in quite some time.

Let’s drop the puck.

It doesn’t need to be reiterated how much Matt Martin means to the Isles and loves along Island. But how he described his feelings yesterday hit more for some reason.

“I just wanted to see it through here and be a part of this franchise as long as I can be,” Martin told reporters. “I call Long Island home now. They showed the trust and investment in me for four years. My goal is to go and pay that off to them. My heart was always to stay here. My plan was always to stay here.”

Four more years of that is something Isles fans will treasure.

Ross Johnston and Martin being in the lineup together should make for some extra activity. And being that it’s the Rangers they open with, we might see some more of this:

 

 

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: Transactions from January 13th

Andrew Ladd, New York Islanders

The New York Islanders are just a day away from their season opener against the New York Rangers. As training camp closes out, the NHL requires all 31 teams to hand in an official roster. Now, obviously, things are subject to change, not everything is set in stone just yet. There were definitely some shocking moves made within the past 24 hours in the Islanders organization. Which move was the most shocking, and which move didn’t mean anything?

Waiver Wire

As I’ve stated before, Josh Ho-Sang and Mason Jobst were both placed on waivers on Sunday. Both of them actually cleared and will report to Bridgeport. Andrew Ladd was also placed on waivers and went unclaimed. Leo Komarov and Dmytro Timashov were waived, but it’s a paper transaction. What I mean by this is that they are still on the team, but due to cap restraints, they had to be waived. Don’t be worried, Isles fans, Timashov has a contract. Finally, Bode Wilde and Samuel Bolduc were sent to Bridgeport.

Taxi Squad

The taxi squad is a new addition to the NHL due to COVID-19. The Islanders placed Kieffer Bellows, Austin Cznarik, Otto Koivula, and Jakub Skarek on the squad. Again, the Bellows move is a paper transaction, will most definitely be on the third line tomorrow night. Corey Schneider is not under contract yet, so he cannot be on the squad. Look for him to sign within the next 3 days. I also believe that Sebastian Aho will join this squad and maybe Oliver Wahlstrom.

Extra Notes

The Islanders placed Michael Dal Colle on injury reserve. At this time, Lou Lamoriello has not commented on Dal Colle’s situation. Lamoriello has stated that he is perfectly fine with Johnston and Martin on the ice every night. He sees no redundancy. Trotz stated that Wahlstrom and Bellows playing together is a possibility and may happen later this season. Finally, Thomas Hickey will be the 7th defender.

Ilya Sorokin already making great impression on Islanders and their fans

Ilya Sorokin has yet to start a game in goal for the Islanders. That should come soon, most likely within the next week. But he’s already made a great first impression on his teammates, his coaches and the Isles faithful.

Sorokin, the team’s Russian goalie prodigy, finally met the media yesterday. It marked the first time the 25-year-old was made available by the Isles since they signed him back during the summer. He had spent time with the club as they made their run to the Eastern Conference Finals in the playoff bubbles. For the last two weeks, he’s been a full participant at Islanders training camp.

“It’s very friendly guys, all my teammates,” Sorokin said during a zoom call with reporters  with the help of an English translator.

Sorokin has been hyped up as the Islanders’ future in net for a long time now. In his homeland, he became hockey royalty and earned the reputation as the “best goaltender not playing in North America”. The Isles drafted him in 2014 but were patient in waiting for when he would finally make the jump to the NHL, which to him was a “dream”. It was also the dreams of Islanders fans who had only heard and seen highlights of his brilliance but craved to see the real thing in person.

Now they are going to get their chance.

But Sorokin knows he wants to earn the respect and admiration of the fans, even with all the fanfare already thrown his way.

“Yes, my friends send me pictures and messages from Islanders fans [who] are happy,” his translator said. “He feels like he’s now indebted to his fans and has to work hard for it to deserve this excitement.”

If that didn’t speak volumes to the blue and orange diehards, his words about his experience of living on Long Island thus far did.
“I like the ocean. It’s very peaceful. I was in Manhattan — I don’t like. A lot of people, a lot of stress. I like peaceful.”

Looking at social media, the fans loved that statement. And in the words of Arthur Staple, the Isles beat writer for The Athletic, Sorokin spoke as if he was a true Long Islander.

Islanders head coach Barry Trotz has already anointed Sorokin the number two behind starter Semyon Varlamov and he plans to ease him in because he has to deserve his time in the NHL. That plan might be the best way for him to adjust but too may have an effect on Sorokin possibly having a shot at the Calder Trophy.

Sorokin is one of the dark horses to win the award while his fellow countrymen and now rival netminder Igor Shesterkin (Rangers) and number one pick Alexis Lafreniere (also Rangers) are the favorites.

While that’s something to take stock of during the season, Trotz loves what he’s seen from his newest import.

“A great personality,” the Isles head coach noted. “He’s a guy that’s got a smile on his face. He’s a guy that works at his craft, tries to get better at his craft and looks for the next thing. You can see it. He works at any task he’s given. He’s been a pleasure to have around and a pleasure to watch him grow with his teammates.”

Sorokin saying all the right things has endeared himself to many already. Now his highly-anticipated debut comes next.

If he gives the same impression he’s been able to give thus far, the Islanders might be looking at their next big star.

Kieffer Bellows working his way on to the opening night roster says a lot about how far he’s come in a short while. It was just a few months ago his stock in the organization had taken a hit when he got dinged for violating the league’s enhancing substances rules.

Now he’s drawn praise from Trotz and could be slotted next to J.G. Pageau tomorrow night on the third line.

Talk about a turnaround.

Bode Wilde earning a spot on the varsity even just as a part of the taxi squad is a testament to his development. A scout told me when the Isles drafted him a few years back they got a steal and that he had a very high ceiling.

I mean it’s not everyday you draw comparisons to John Carlson, a Norris-caliber defenseman. But that’s exactly what the feeling around him is by the coaches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Islanders have two Top 100 players, but should there be more?

When the Islanders open their regular season Thursday night, they will have two of the best players in the league taking the ice for them, Mathew Barzal and Ryan Pulock.

The Athletic NHL released its Top 100 Players tier list for the 2021 season yesterday and it was Barzal and Pulock who made it for the organization. Barzal was placed in the Tier 3 group under the “All-Star” umbrella while Pulock finds himself in the fourth tier for players who are at the “Top of the lineup”.

The newly extended Barzal — he and the Isles agreed to a new three-year deal over the weekend — many on the panel believe he hasn’t reached “franchise player” worthy level just yet.  “Mathew Barzal regarded as highly as he should be by the model, which doesn’t see just how involved he is in transition. The franchise-player tier is a tough sell for now, with the net results including his production being great but not quite elite,” was how he was described at the moment.

The argument about Barzal’s production is valid. Take out his Calder Trophy winning season in 2017-18 where he led the team with 85 points, and Barzal has only tallied 122 points  and 37 goals. Now it’s true, those numbers probably take a hit because of the defense-first mentality employed by head coach Barry Trotz. But Barzal is now being paid as an elite player, so his production needs to reflect that.

This is not lost on him too. He said on Saturday after signing the deal that “consistency” was going to be the most important thing with him being paid $7M a year over the next three seasons

Pulock making the list comes as quite the welcome surprise.

He’s definitely emerged as the Isles’ best and most reliable defenseman outside of his d-partner, Adam Pelech. Pulock’s numbers at both ends of the ice have continued to improve each year, but he hasn’t launched himself towards the upper echelon of d-men in the league.

This season could change that. He was was rewarded with a new two-year, 10M contract back in November and is considered to be on the rise. For right now, he’s earned the title of becoming a dominant player.

So, with two of the Islanders most prominent players listed, the question needs to be asked: should there have been more?

Pelech and forward Brock Nelson deserve some consideration.

You could make the argument that Pelech should have made the list ahead of a guy like Jake Muzzin who was in the final tier as a 4C.

Pelech has evolved into one of the top defensive d-man in the over the last two seasons and remains criminally underrated. The offensive production isn’t on the same level of Pulock, but you’d have a hard time finding a guy whose so instrumental to their team’s success. Last season and the playoffs were perfect examples.

As for Nelson, there’s no question he is the Isles’ second-best forward behind Barzal. His level of play has reached incredible heights under Trotz — 25+ goals and 50 or more points the past two seasons — and it doesn’t look like he’ll be slowing down anytime soon.

One other name who could find himself on the list soon is Anthony Beauvillier.

His postseason performance opened up a lot of eyes and now he’s expected to become an elite player this season.

Some might want to pull out there hair, but the cap manipulation Isles g.m. Lou Lamoriello has been able to pull off is sorcery. Having to pay Andy Greene and Matt Martin — both recently re-signed — a combined $2.2M for this year is a nod to his genius.

Yes, Greene’s performance bonuses if he reaches them can have a negative effect on the cap in the summer, but Lou still deserves credit for getting him to sign below what he might have gotten on the open market.

Josh Ho-Sang cleared waivers to no ones surprise. Now it’s on the team whether or not they want him in Bridgeport according to the New York Post’s Mollie Walker. Ho-Sang intends to be there and hopefully the team gives him that chance.

The Coliseum is ready for its final, final go around. A happy and sad image at the same time.

New York Islanders: Notes from Sunday’s practice

New York Islanders

The New York Islanders continued their training camp with another scrimmage yesterday. It was a “for real” scrimmage with the official game jersey’s given out to everyone participating. The teams were blue vs. white as always. The blue team’ forwards consisted of Anthony Beauvillier, Josh Bailey, Brock Nelson, Oliver Wahlstrom, Kieffer Bellows, J.G. Pageau, Ross Johnston, Andrew Ladd, Otto Koivula, and Michael Dal Colle. The defenseman for the blue team: Nick Leddy, Scott Mayfield, Thomas Hickey, Bode Wilde, Sebastian Aho, and Grant Hutton. Semyon Varlamov was in between the pipes. Now, the forwards for the white team were: Mat Barzal, Anders Lee, Jordan Eberle, the fourth line, A.J. Greer, Austin Cznarik, Leo Komarov, and Simon Holmstrom. The defensive lineup consisted of Adam Pelech, Ryan Pulock, Andy Greene, Noah Dobson, Parker Wotherspoon, and Samuel Bolduc. Ilya Sorokin was the starting goalie. This scrimmage got very interesting.

Goals

Jordan Eberle opened up the scoring by putting one past Semyon Varlamov on the opening shift. J.G. Pageau would then respond with the equalizer after scoring in his favorite spot, the crease. This was the first goal that Ilya Sorokin allowed all camp. When it rains, it pours, Grant Hutton put another one past Ilya Sorokin on a rush. Next, Kieffer Bellows believed he scored to open up the third period on Ilya Sorokin. This goal would end up counting. Then, Oliver Wahlstrom would pop out of the penalty box and score on Ilya Sorokin. This would effectively win the game for the blue team. The final score was 4-1.

Notes

Samuel Bolduc had an all-around great day, he even dumped Beauvillier to the ice after spinning away from him. The third line of Pageau, Wahlstrom, and Bellows all scored goals today and played excellent defense. Don’t be surprised if that’s the opening night third line. Although Ilya Sorokin let in 4 goals yesterday, he played very well and stopped many other scoring chances. Do not panic, Islander fans, it’s just a scrimmage. Semyon Varlamov played great yesterday and stopped nearly everything that came his way. Varlamov will get the opening night start, but Sorokin could play on Saturday. Noah Dobson and Ryan Pulock have been playing on the same PP unit, most likely the squad for opening night. Also, Casey Cizikas was involved in a three-way collision with Thomas Hickey and Matt Martin, his status is trending upwards.

Extra Notes

Josh Ho-Sang and Mason Jobst were put on waivers yesterday. I believe this will effectively end Ho-Sang’s time with the Islanders. Though Thomas Hickey has had a good camp, he will most likely be traded. Look for the Islanders to try and pick up someone on waivers today. Barry Trotz has stated that Bode Wilde could become the next John Carlson which is great news. Finally, the Islanders only have two more skates left before January 14th.

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.

A next-level Anthony Beauvillier would solve a big problem for the Islanders

As the Islanders forge full steam ahead towards their season opener next week, there continues to be a lot of chatter about what we will see from an offensive standpoint this season. The Isles are basically sticking with the same forward corps they’ve had the past two years.

That group in recent years has been inconsistent at best with scoring goals having been hard to come by. Much of that narrative has been based on them not having a true goal-scoring threat.

Enter Anthony Beauvillier. He could be the answer to that problem if he has a monster season.

Beauvillier, 23, is entering this season with high expectations after he opened a lot of eyes with his sensational run in the postseason last summer where he recorded nine goals and five assists. He’s also coming off a solid 2019-20 regular season where notched 18 goals and 38 points prior to the season being shut due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think I’m ready to take the next step in my game,” Beauvillier told reporters via Zoom yesterday after he reportedly helped combine for three goals during the team’s first scrimmage of training camp.

Hearing those words should be music to Isles fans’ ears who have concerns about the offense.

Beauvillier has continued to evolve with each passing season, but it’s always been that consistency which has kept him from skyrocketing to that upper echelon. We also know it’s clear that he has an underrated scoring touch.

The last two seasons Beauvillier has totaled 36 goals. Before that in 2017-18, he recorded a career-high 21.

So obviously the potential for 25-30 is there, even in the season only being 56 games this year. And let’s be honest, if the Islanders can’t get that type of production from Anders Lee or Jordan Eberle, they will be in big trouble. They just don’t have the horses in their corps. Hence why Beauvillier turning into their missing sniper would really add a huge boost to the offense.

“I want to be a better player, a more consistent player and want to be a big part of this group, Beauvillier added. “It’s been like that for a couple years now and I just have to do it. It’s a little bit time for me.”

A lot of the Islanders’ success this year will hinge on guys like Beauvillier. He’s without question the club’s third-most important forward behind Mathew Barzal and Nelson and it’s crucial that he turns into that scorning threat he was in the playoffs and was projected to be when the organization drafted him 28th overall in 2015.

It would be huge for Beauvillier and the development of his career. More so, it would provide some huge reassurance for a quality that the Islanders have been lacking for so long.

The whole Mathew Barzal contract dispute has taken hold of the Islanders as they get set for the season to begin. So many people have chinned in on the situation — which could be solved any day now — but “Spittin Chiclets” Paul Bissonnette’s take might have taken the cake.

Saying the way “Barzal plays isn’t necessarily fun” in the Isles’ system and that’s why he should continue to holdout — its been confirmed it’s not that but just Barzal unsigned — is a doozy.

That system has gotten Barzal to the postseason two years in a row now and within an earshot of playing for the Stanley Cup.

If that’s not fun, then what is?

Josh Bailey scoring goals will never get old, even in training camp. Neither will his goal song.