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Barzal Will Play for Team Canada, Second Islander Heading to Finland

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Mathew Barzal of the New York Islanders

On Thursday, Team USA Announced their roster for the upcoming Men’s IIHF World Championships. New York Islanders forward Kieffer Bellows was on the list. Although Team Canada has yet to announce their roster TSN insider Darren Dreger confirms that there will be at least one another New York Islanders player at the tournament, and that’s Mathew Barzal. 

With Kieffer Bellows representing Team USA and Mathew Barzal representing Team Canada, that should be a cool moment when those two go head-to-head. 

Mathew Barzal has represented Team Canada before, at both the 2017 and 2018 Under-20 World Juniors. In 12 combined games, Barzal accumulated five goals and six assists. 

In 73 games played this past season, Barzal recorded 15 goals and 44 assists in 18:01 ATOI. He ended the 2021-22 campaign on a three-game point streak with five assists and points in nine of his last 11 games, with one goal and 10 assists. 

Mat Barzal’s 2021-22 campaign was a challenging one, as there were plenty of obstacles that came his way.

He missed six games due to his ankle, the first time he had dealt with an injury in his six-year NHL career. 

The fact that Barzal has decided to represent Team Canada should indicate that he feels good physically. 

Barzal also dealt with COVID-19, missing three games while in protocol. On top of that, New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz maneuvered wingers throughout the season, out of necessity with players in and out of the lineup and also due to production. 

“I think just disappointed maybe that you know, things didn’t click as quickly as I wanted to again with guys going down with COVID and guys getting hurt and in and out of the lineup, it can be tough to find that chemistry,” Mathew Barzal said in his exit interview a week ago.  “So I pride myself on being a center that can play with anyone, and just, unfortunately, we didn’t put more pucks in the back of the net.”

After the Islanders last game of the season, Barzal said that the conversations in the locker room were all about getting better for next season. 

“I feel like the last two years haven’t really had a chance to settle into training. So I think everybody’s gonna kind of work hard this summer, get better, get stronger, and I think this group’s gonna bounce back.”

And now we know that part of Barzal’s offseason training will be competing for gold, which starts in Finland on May 13.

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