In a revealing move, the Islanders waived forward P.A. Parenteau. Brought back after scoring 20 goals with the Maple Leafs, the 33-year old veteran won’t be a part of the roster for the upcoming ’16-17 season which begins with a visit to MSG versus the Rangers on Thursday.
Instead, the organization has liked what its seen from 2015 first round picks Mathew Barzal and Anthony Beauvillier. Both 19-year old prospects performed well in preseason. Each have scored a goal and impressed coach Jack Capuano enough to keep them around.
Ironically, they were acquired in two separate deals at the 2015 Draft which involved trading away former 2012 first round pick Griffin Reinhart to Edmonton. Barzal went sixth overall and Beauvillier was selected at number 28. While Reinhart has yet to prove he’s an NHL regular with the Oilers demoting him, Isles’ general manager Garth Snow looks pretty good landing two first round picks who could be a big part of the team’s future.
“From Day 1, you can just tell he takes pride in his ability away from the puck,” Capuano said of Beauvillier in a feature on the Islanders official website. “But at the same time he has great offensive instincts on the power play and in the 3-on-3 in overtime. He’s going about his business, he’s doing the right things and he’s going to get an opportunity here as we move forward.”
Neither player is expected to start in the top six. If both make it, they will be used in supporting roles. Barzal has been used exclusively at center while Beauvillier has been tried at center, left and right wing. Capuano likes what he sees from the versatile forward.
“He’s in the mix,” Capuano said. “He’s one of the guys that has emerged. I put him at center, I put him at left wing, I put him at right wing, I put him in all situations and he does things the right way and that’s what we’re looking for.”
As for who plays on the top line with captain John Tavares and Andrew Ladd, that could be either Anders Lee or Ryan Strome. Both of who need bounce back seasons. Brock Nelson and Casey Cizikas should be centering other units. Cizikas has played with Cal Clutterbuck and Nikolay Kulemin. Nelson has worked with Josh Bailey and Jason Chimera.
Depending on who starts with Tavares, that should determine who Barzal or Beauvillier play with. They also have the option of sending either back to juniors. From what I’ve seen, Barzal should make it. If it truly is a youth movement, then you could be looking at an even deeper Isles’ four lines with more scoring capability.
It still remains to be seen how much they’ll miss proven vets Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo, who each signed with other teams in July. Along with Ladd, the Islanders are counting on some of those younger players to pick up the scoring slack.