New York Islanders forward Anthony Beauvillier has been a fun player to watch since debuting for the franchise back in 2016. His “have fun” attitude, a phrase written on each one of his sticks has been illustrated in the way he plays the game.
As the 24-year old gets set to embark on his sixth NHL season, it is crucial for the Islanders to see him take his game to another level. Even after scoring the biggest playoff goals for the Islanders over the last decade, his struggles with consistency, more so in the regular season, have held the Islanders back from reaching elite status, despite back-to-back trips to the Semifinals.
Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello’s offseason focused on keeping the core of the team together, which included re-signing Beauvillier to a new deal. No high-priced forward was brought in via trade or free agency, which places a greater emphasis on the players already within the organization.
And that means Beauvillier needs to step it up this season.
The regular season statistics over Beauivllier’s five years at the NHL showed a player that consistently hovered around the 20-goal, 15 or so assists mark. In 47 games this past season, Beauvillier scored 15 goals with 13 assists.
The eye test showed a player with the tools to be much more effective night in and night out, with consistency being a challenge. That higher level of effectiveness was evident during the Islanders’ last two postseason runs.
In the 2019-20 playoffs, Anthony Beauvillier scored nine goals (team lead with Nelson) with five assists, as he helped the Islanders reach the semifinals for the first time since 1993.
In the 2020-21 postseason run, Beauvillier brought his “A” game yet again as he lit the lamp five times in 19 games, adding eight assists to that stat line. He ended the postseason tied for second in offensive production with Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Josh Bailey with 13 points.
Over the last two playoff runs, Beauvillier has averaged 0.34 goals per game, 0.66 points per game. Although the sample size of games is much greater during the last two regular seasons for Beauvillier, the numbers are lower. Since 2019, Beauvillier has averaged 0.23 goals per game, with the points per game coming out to 0.58.
These stats may indicate that the Islanders get more out of Beauvillier when the stakes are higher, which is not a bad thing by any means, but it also shows the level that Beauvillier can play at.
In year six, the Islanders do not need to see playoff Beauvillier each game, but they sure need to see more consistency.
For the most part, Beauvillier has been a staple on the Islanders’ second line, alongside Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey. Over the last few years, this line has been incredibly streaky, which has its positives when they’re hot, but negatives when they are not. Beauvillier’s production has been a product of that.
Each member of the “Killer Bees” line brings a different skill to the line. Nelson has the ability to create a shooting lane for himself and he has one of the quicker releases on the Islanders. Given his strong IQ, Bailey has the ability to read the ice and set up his linemates for goal-scoring opportunities.
The skill that Beauvillier has is his speed. It allows him to create chances for himself and his linemates and to be seen more often this season.
Now, maybe unlocking Beauvillier’s true potential is by placing him on a line with players that have some more consistency. Is that holding Beauvillier back?
The problem for Trotz is that the second line, when hot, is the Islanders’ best line. There is also no room to move Beauvillier up to the top line with Anders Lee back, and now with Zach Parise signed, the third-line winger spot isn’t open either.
It’s hard to look at the 24-year old forward and make a statement that his time is running out, but the window for the Islanders to win with the group they have isn’t going to be open forever. Beauvillier needs to find that consistent game before it’s too late.
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