New York Islanders
Big Confidence Boost For Beau? Importance For Islanders
As New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz stated during media availability following Monday’s practice, there is still belief in this roster given the potential of many guys, despite most not living up to them in 2021-22.
For forward Anthony Beauvillier, the first half of the season had been a rough one.
The 24-year old forward had struggled to provide consistent play for Trotz while on the second line and had just scored seven goals with eight assists in 35 games. He had been a healthy scratch once early in the year, a wake-up call by Trotz to see if that could get his young forward going.
It did not have the expected effect.
Beauvillier showed glimpses of his usual play, but nothing to the level of consistency that the Islanders have needed. Like many Islanders, Beauvillier’s talent did not just vanish, but with the lack of production, it’s easy for confidence to take a hit.
“You can’t give people confidence. It’s not in a box. It’s not in anything,” Trotz said on Monday. “Some guys need to be sat out, some guys respond better by being moved down the lineup. Some guys respond by keeping them in the lineup and encouraging them.”
And following the All-Star break, Beauvillier found himself demoted to the fourth line.
Trotz has been ridiculed for the moves or lack of moves he has made this season, which he took the blame for ahead of their contest with the Vancouver Canucks last Wednesday.
This move seems to have inspired Beauvillier, who has been at his best over the last few games with a goal and an assist.
While points are how players are viewed and compared, just the way Beauvillier looks out on the ice is rather encouraging. Beauvillier has been able to get back to the basics and his skills alongside Casey Cizikas and Matt Martin have made that line strong.
“I got to give them (Martin and Cizikas) a lot of credit,” Anthony Beauvillier said following Monday’s practice. “They work hard, they win pucks and they make a big difference for us in games and it has been good. ”
“(I) definitely got the puck a bit more. I got to feel it a little bit more and definitely have the confidence back up a little bit.”
After three games alongside Cizikas and Martin, Beauvillier was back in his regular spot on the Islanders second line at Monday’s practice.
If the demotion to the fourth line was a move to wake Beauvillier up, he looks awake and rejuvenated. He had used his skates on a nightly basis and has found more confidence in his game for sure. And that game will need to remain if he is in fact back alongside Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey for Tuesday’s contest against the Buffalo Sabres.
“Going back with Nelly and Bails, I mean, we’ve had success in the past,” Beauvillier said. “And the way we had success is getting on pucks quick, making quick plays, and yeah.
“I’ve had my legs the last couple of games so I want to keep it up and I want to get our line going for sure.”
The Islanders second line has not clicked the way it had in the past. Beauvillier has eight goals this season, four coming on the power play. Brock Nelson has 15 goals on the season, with three coming on the power play, and Josh Bailey has a lone goal, which came on the man advantage.
Out of all three players, it is clear that Nelson has had the best season production-wise. But for that line to work, all three players need to be involved and although Bailey has struggled, Beauvillier’s lack of consistency, given his role with the line, made it hard for them to be a constant threat.
It may be too late in the season for the Islanders to turn things around but they are a team that has the ability to string wins together at an alarming rate. If there is any chance of a monumental climb in the standings, Beauvillier and the second line will need to be taking shifts driving the train.
Continuing with a strong performance over the next couple of weeks could also make Beauvillier a stronger asset at the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline. His value had taken a hit during his first-half performance but at 24 and under team control until 2023-24, he still has value.
For that reason, moving him at the trade deadline may not be a wise choice. But moving Beauvillier in the offseason to get a bigger fish, either a top-four defenseman or even an elite forward is a possibility.
If Lamoriello decides to keep Beauvillier, a strong second half for the forward will pay dividends in having the right mindset heading into the offseason.
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