These two players will need to really step it up for the New York Islanders now.
With the news breaking on Tuesday that Captain Anders Lee is out for the season with a torn A.C.L., the New York Islanders need to see a few players raise their level of play. Top-line center Mat Barzal was the difference-maker early in the regular-season and now will be called upon again to put the team on his back as they try to navigate through their tough schedule down the stretch.
But Barzal cannot do it all, and it is time for players who have been MIA all season to start contributing at a significantly higher rate moving forward. Although the Islanders would like to see each line raise their compete level, the two players that need to show something in the second half of the season are Anthony Beauvillier and Josh Bailey.
New York Islanders need more from Anthony Beauvillier & Josh Bailey
For Anthony Beauvillier, it has been a rather rough season. After a slow start, he fell victim to an upper-body injury which kept him out of the lineup for nine games. But since returning, he has two goals and three assists in 16 games. Given his RFA status and the Islanders’ salary cap issues, the 23-year old forward has to start converting at a higher rate.
Beauvillier plays at his best when he is creating in the offensive zone. In the 2019-2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Quebec-native put up nine goals and five assists in 22 games, as he played a significant role in the Islanders’ long Playoff run.
He shot at a 13.4% clip and had added a clutch factor to his game.
But Beau, as they call him, is a streaky player, and unfortunately, he is cold as he has now gone six games without a point. In Lee’s absence, Beauvillier needs to start scoring, plain and simple. He needs to showcase to his team that he is the player who tore it up in the postseason, not the player we have seen this season.
Before this season, no. 18 had scored 18 or more goals in each season since 2017. While this season is only 56 games, that translates to at least 12 goals. With just 26 more games to go on the schedule, that means Beauvillier would need at least ten goals for him to be comparable to his last three seasons. And as a streaky player, that is not out of the question. But at the end of the day, he does not have to be as good as he was last year. He just needs to contribute.
That starts with him finishing off chances that his linemates create and using his speed to generate chances for his teammates in the offensive zone.
Back on March 9th, Beauvillier did come up huge for his team, as his Shootout goal gave the Islanders the lead and ultimately the win.
This silky move was a sign of confidence, which has been lacking from his game the entire season. He showcased the clutch factor we saw last season and helped his team collect a major two points against a very tough Boston Bruins team.
With Lee out, if Beauvillier could get those timely goals, this Islander team should be able to stay towards the top of the East Standings. But if he struggles, that is just more pressure on other guys to carry the load and, despite the Islanders having depth scoring this season, it will be tested now more than ever.