BOSTON, MA – It was an uneventful NHL Trade Deadline for the New York Islanders, a team that has underperformed this season for one reason or another and had some pieces that could have been moved for assets.
After standing pat at the deadline, general manager Lou Lamoriello shared his thoughts on what improvements he wants to make to his team in the offseason. There is satisfaction at the goaltender position and adding a defenseman was on the lists on his to-do list.
“Over the next period of time, we’ll find out about our scorers. That’s where we certainly underproduced this year to this point,” Lamoriello said. “In fact, I would say disappointed with what has transpired there, and we will see where our forwards are at from now until the end of the year.”
And Lamoriello is right. Too many of the forwards underperformed this season, especially early on. A forward like Kyle Palmieri shook off a very slow start while a player like Anders Lee, who has produced, has taken his game to a much higher level as of late.
Palmieri had just three goals in his first 30 games and now has eight goals in his last 19 games.
Anders Lee, who has benefitted from playing alongside Brock Nelson now, has 10 goals and six assists in his previous 10 games. Nelson has nine goals and five assists over that span. These are two players that will not be included in offseason moves.
But the third player on that line, Anthony Beauvillier, has the next 20 games to prove that he deserves to stay a member of the New York Islanders.
The 24-year old Anthony Beauvillier has been rather inconsistent this season, with just 10 goals in 59 games. The chances have been there for Beauvillier, as he’s tied for third on the Islanders in shots with 13. But Beauvillier is only shooting at 7.69 percent.
According to Natural Stat Trick, an advanced hockey analytics page, Beauvillier has an Expected Goals For of 14.7. He has the second-highest individual scoring chances on the Islanders at 157, but has missed the net 38 times, the fourth-highest on the Islanders.
However, the three players ahead of him in misses, Anders Lee, Oliver Wahlstrom, and Kyle Palmieri, all have more goals than Beauvillier.
Over his six-year NHL career, there have been too many games where he has not stood out. Although Anthony Beauvillier may not have the same skills as Mathew Barzal, the same offensive-zone ability, Beauvillier should be a player that opponents need to watch every time his skates hit the ice.
But because of a lack of finishing, he has not been a dangerous player.
And given his age, 24, and cap hit of $4.150 million each of the next two seasons, Beauvillier may be a player on the move this summer. The Islanders need to improve their defense, as he could be a player packaged in a trade or a player moved for assets to help clear some cap space.
In the 5-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday, Beauvillier recorded a goal and an assist and now has a goal and nine assists over his last 10 games.
— Isles on MSG+ (@IslesMSGN) March 24, 2022
BROCK MAKES IT 3-0 pic.twitter.com/FbnNVO1eAg
— Isles on MSG+ (@IslesMSGN) March 25, 2022
I asked head coach Barry Trotz following the win about what changes he’s seen in Beauvillier’s game.
“I think Beau’s biggest thing is he’s confident,” Trotz said. “I actually had a conversation with Beau, and I just said, I felt like he was playing pretty solid. I said, ‘You know you’re not getting production…get inside a little bit more, you know, (you’re) even just a little bit late on a couple of pucks and you know, get your mind on, on all the good things that you’re doing right now’. He sort of chuckled at me and said, ‘yeah, absolutely.'”
“And it was good to see him getting a goal and an assist tonight. He’s just moving, skating is he’s competing on pucks, he’s not getting pushed off the puck. You know, (he’s) getting leverage on another guy to get strength on the puck. I think he’s doing a much better job.”
There is 20 game remaining before the end of the regular season. It is unlikely that Beauvillier, nor his line, will be able to keep up the red-hot play we have seen over the last 10 games.
But just being a consistent force on a nightly basis may be all it takes for Anthony Beauvillier to be part of the 2022-23 season plans.