Rookie phenom Mat Barzal has made a splash playing with the New York Islanders in his first season in the NHL. Barzal has recorded 69 points(18 G, 51 A) in 67 games played this season which is phenomenal. He has really benefited from playing alongside Islanders captain John Tavares. But will Barzal win the Calder Trophy which recognizes the league’s most proficient rookie? Most likely.
With Boston’s Charlie McAvoy sidelined for 4+ weeks with an MCL sprain and Vancouver’s Brock Boeser sidelined for 4-6 weeks with a soft tissue injury and a fracture of the transverse process in his lower back, Barzal looks like the clear-cut favorite. If Barzal can stay healthy he will most likely win the Calder.
It has been a very close race between Barzal, Boeser, and McAvoy but with 2 of the three injured and not returning until the end of the season, Barzal has become the front runner. Many would say Barzal was already the front runner for the Calder with all the points he has put up, but Boeser and McAvoy were giving him a run for his money.
Barzal is well on pace for 80-100 points this season. McDavid recorded 100 points in his first full season with the Edmonton Oilers a couple years back so Barzal could very well put up McDavid-like numbers. I feel that Barzal is the most talked about rookie since McDavid and it would only make sense if he wins the Calder.
If you haven’t watched this kid play, he is phenomenal. He’s a fantastic skater, is strong on the puck, has great vision, and has a great shot. The Islanders found a great player in Barzal and they should be extremely pleased with his progress. If Barzal wins the Calder he would join an elite group of Islanders who have achieved the feat including Denis Potvin(‘73-’74), Bryan Trottier(‘75-’76), Mike Bossy(‘77-’78), and Bryan Berard(‘96-’97). He would be the first Islander to do so since Bryan Berard in 1996-97.