Mathew Barzal contract a necessary gamble for Islanders
Will he make it worth it? Will they ever get him some help? It also probably makes Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak very happy.
The New York Islanders have not had a great offseason, and that is not what you want to see if you are fan of the team after a bitterly disappointing 2021-22 season. Their only major addition to the roster was trading a first-round pick for defenseman Alexander Romanov (a total wild card and a project), while their biggest change overall was replacing one of the league’s best head coaches (Barry Trotz) with a totally unproven rookie coach in Lane Lambert.
They are basically betting that the same roster simply needed a different voice behind the bench and can rely on Ilya Sorokin to pull an Igor Shesterkin and carry a team deep into the playoffs. I am not optimistic that gamble will work out for them.
They did get at least some good news on Tuesday when the team announced that star forward Mathew Barzal signed a new eight-year contract extension to remain with the team through the end of the 2030-31 season. When the contract begins at the start of the 2023-24 season (he still has one more year on his current contract $7 million per) it will pay him $9.150 million per season.
That is a significant cap hit and would currently rank among the top-30 contracts in the entire league.
Barzal has all natural ability to be a superstar and a franchise player. He can be one of the most exciting players in the league with the puck on his stick, has blazing speed, and is a very productive player. It is also great news for the Islanders to lock up a player with Barzal’s talent after developing a bit of a reputation for not being able to attract or retain star talent (general manager Lou Lamoriello also seems to have that problem).
The problem, though, is that he does not quite produce or play like a superstar, and given his talent level there is a desire to see more of that type of production from him.
Will it happen?
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