The 25-year-old center is entering the final season of a three-year contract and could become a restricted free agent. Barzal, who was a first-round pick (#16) by the Islanders in the 2015 NHL Draft, center of the tie Brooke Nelson The team leads with 59 points (15 goals, 44 assists) last season.
“It’s two weeks before the season and hopefully we can achieve something,” Barzal said after the first day of training camp Thursday. “If not, I’m not worried about it because my heart is here knowing we’ll get something fair and something both sides are happy about.”
Berzal’s comments echoed those made earlier this week by the general manager of the island’s population, Lou Lamoreello. New York plays its first game of the regular season on October 13 against the Florida Panthers.
“We expect a lot from him,” Lamoreello said on Monday. “He expects a lot from himself. … He is without a doubt one of our leaders. Without a doubt, he is probably the most talented player we have and he is undoubtedly committed. He is ready to prove a lot of things, I (have) complete confidence and I am his biggest fan” .
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New York (37-35-10) missed last season’s Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 2018, finishing 16 points behind the Washington Capitals for the second time in the Eastern Conference. Barry Trotz was fired as coach on 9 May and replaced by Lyn Lambert on 16 May.
The islanders reached the third round of the post-season in 2020 and 2021.
“It’s been a long summer,” Barzal said. “We had a lot to think about.
“I want to prove to them right away in camp that I made a move and worked hard this summer. I’m sure that’s the same mindset that everyone is trying to prove. I mean, for me, the next step is just, I feel like there (were) games where [I’m playing well and] There are (there are) other games where certain conditions just don’t go my way and I go down a little bit. So, for me, it’s about getting that high of playing it. I want to confirm my back check. I want to emphasize stripping the pucks. …that high level of consistency that I feel is there periodically at times and has to be consistent every day. ”
Barzal focused on improving his playing in the neutral and defensive areas, but there is an outside belief that his offensive capabilities have not been fully unlocked. He had 85 points (22 goals, 63 assists) and won the Calder Cup as the NHL Rookie in 2017-18, but never got more than 62 points in four seasons under Trotz.
Lambert said he will use the training camp to see which of his teammates will be the best fit for Barzal.
“We’ll see how it goes by itself,” Lambert said. “We are only on our first day here and we have some time and some [preseason] Games to find out things. … drives the play and increases the speed. He needs a guy who can work well with him in terms of work ethic and things like that. We’ll see how we go.”