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Barzal’s Energy Fueling Prospects, Veterans at Training Camp



New York Islanders, Mathew Barzal

“Yeah baby, yeah!” “Woooo!” “Let’s go!” These are just some things you could hear on a daily basis out of the mouth of New York Islanders forward Mathew Barzal.

Whether it’s one-on-one drills, odd-man rush drills, or flat-out skating drills, there is no lack of energy or intensity from the New York Islanders’ most gifted forward. The level at which Mathew Barzal plays and the joy he brings to every aspect of practice is contagious, whether you are a young player trying to crack the roster or a grizzled veteran.

“For me personally, it pushes me because I want to keep up with him,” 17-yeard NHL veteran Zach Parise said. “But when you have your star player like that, pushing the pace, everyone else should be looking at it, especially the young players be looking at that like, ‘This guy is going here, I mean, I got to play at that level if I want to be in the NHL.'”

“So I think it’s good because there’s a trickle-down effect. It’s just, it’s great for everybody.”

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That’s coming from a player in Parise, who, over his career, has always been one of, if not the hardest workers on the ice.

Parise was the recipient of the 2021-22 Bob Nystrom Award, which is given to the player that best exemplifies Nystrom’s traits: Leadership, hustle, and determination.

13-year NHL veteran and long-time New York Islanders grinder Matt Martin shared his thoughts on Barzal’s work ethic.

“He’s got a good work ethic. He cares. He works off the ice as well,” Matt Martin shared. “One of our best players. Generally, when your top guys put the work in, everyone else follows suit.”

The New York Islanders, given their veteran makeup, have many leaders on the team. But age has no impact on leadership, as at the age of 25, Barzal has earned the room’s respect due to how he carries himself on the ice.

“I mean, listen. We have a group where it doesn’t really matter about age, and I think everyone’s pretty vocal in here, and everyone’s really close. We take a lot of pride in the family aspect of things and making sure that everyone’s welcome and making sure that everyone’s going to speak up when they want to,” Martin said.

21-year-old prospect Simon Holmstrom, who has been skating with Mat Barzal throughout camp, smiled when I asked him how Barzal’s energy affects him.

“It’s unbelievable,” prospect Simon Holmstrom shared.

A short quote, but a quote that speaks volumes like Zach Parise shared, seeing a guy put in the work makes you want to work equally as hard. And if you are playing with him, then the only way to keep up with Mathew Barzal is to match his intensity and energy level.

After just 15 goals and 44 assists during the lackluster 2021-22 NHL season, the New York Islanders need Mathew Barzal to be a leader on the offensive side of the puck. And with a full summer off, for the first time in quite some time, Barzal seems ready to go physically and mentally as we are a few weeks away from kicking off the regular season.

But first, Mat Barzal will skate in the New York Islanders’ first preseason contest Monday night against the New York Rangers, alongside Zach Parise and Simon Holmstrom.