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New York Islanders Mathew Barzal One of the Best at Drawing Penalties

New York Islanders Mathew Barzal is a magnet at drawing penalties yet again this season. Too bad his team is letting him down with a terrible power play.

The New York Islanders knew they had something special in Mathew Barzal when they drafted him 16th overall in 2015. We had to wait until the 2017-18 before we could see it on display in the NHL.

That season he put up 85 points in 82 games and claimed that season’s Calder Trophy for his efforts. His ability to create, find, and exploit space on the ice was something that the Islanders hadn’t seen in a long time.

But what gave Mathew Barzal a true edge was his incredible skating ability and pure speed. Both helped him create the space and separation that he needed to thrive. It also benefited his team tremendously as it often put them at a numerical advantage.

His Penalty Differential

Through the 2017-18 season, Mathew Barzal drew 40 penalties for the New York Islanders across all situations. That ranked him third behind only Tom Wilson and Mathew Tkachuk.

In the same period, he took 14 penalties across all situations for a +26 penalty differential. By the same measure Tom Wilson was -2 (he took 58 penalties), Mathew Tkachuk was +22. Comparatively, Barzal had a larger positive impact on his team when looking at penalty differential.

With the sixth-ranked power play in the NHL at a 23.3 percent efficiency in 2017-18, Barzal’s ability to draw penalties was a huge advantage for the Islanders. Too bad that was all wasted with a historically bad defense under head coach Doug Weight.

This season Barzal is still as good as ever at drawing penalties. He’s already drawn 21 penalties across all situations this season. Ranking him tied for eighth in the NHL with Elias Pettersson.

With 14 penalties taken his penalty differential isn’t as outstanding at +8. But his impact remains the same. Barzal puts the New York Islanders in a position to score by giving them a tremendous number of opportunities on the power play. Too bad that power play is terrible.

What does that mean?

Barzal is still giving the New York Islanders a great opportunity to win games by giving more power play opportunities than just about any other player in the NHL. Again, he ranks eighth in the NHL for penalties drawn

But because the Islanders have a power play that both has a hard time finding a way to enter the offensive zone and getting pucks towards the net, those opportunities are going unrewarded.

The Islanders rank 25th in the NHL with a 16.4 percent efficiency on the power play. Even if the Islanders get on the man advantage they probably won’t score. With a 16.6 percent average efficiency, the Islanders would have to draw six seven penalties to convert one.

That’s insane. An average NHL power play converts on a fifth of its opportunities. The Islanders are letting down Mathew Barzal.

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That has to be incredibly frustrating for Mathew Barzal when not only is he creating a ton of offense at 5on5, but he’s gifting the Islanders chances on the man advantage that are wasted every night.


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