Despite the loss of star John Tavares, the New York Islanders still are coming off a season in which the team was tied for seventh in goals scored. Throw in a Stanley Cup winning coach in Barry Trotz and don’t be surprised if the Islanders are competitive after all this year. While many players will have to deal with the task of making up for the loss of Tavares’ offense, one player that the team is counting on to take that next step will be Anthony Beauvillier, according to The Athletic’s Arthur Staple (subscription required).
The 21-year-old found his game in the second-half of his second season last year. After struggling early on last year, posting just seven points in the first 31 games of the season, he was demoted to Bridgeport of the AHL for the five-day break to work on his game. When he came back, his game took off as he scored 17 goals and 29 points in the final 40 games of the season when he was placed on the second line alongside Mathew Barzal.
While his success could have a lot to do with Barzal’s magnificent season, he replaced veteran Andrew Ladd, who scored just seven times in the first half of the season. Staple writes that if Beauvillier can find himself on the top line this year with Barzal and Eberle, the youngster could be in line for a breakout year.
- Corey Masisak of The Athletic (subscription required) writes that New Jersey Devils forward Jesper Bratt needs a strong camp to prove to the team that he deserves a top-six spot in their lineup this year. After shocking many in the league by winning a spot on the Devils’ roster out of training camp last year, Bratt finished the season with 13 goals and 35 points. Now, the 20-year-old must prove he belongs and can build on a solid rookie campaign. However, the question is whether he can get enough playing time to better this season. Bratt scored 10 points in his first 10 games and then picked up 29 in his first 42 games. However, his offense disappeared on the injury return of Travis Zajac as well as other crippling injuries to Marcus Johansson and Kyle Palmieri. The team also added Patrick Maroon and Michael Grabner at the trade deadline as Bratt was actually often a healthy scratch.
- It hasn’t taken long for Carolina Hurricanes’ winger Andrei Svechnikov to get a lot of attention. The second-overall pick in this year’s draft hit the ice at the Traverse City Prospects tournament, and the 18-year-old showed off his quickness and readiness to step right into the NHL, according to NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti. In two games for Carolina, he’s posted a goal and a couple of assists along with 2017 first-rounder Martin Necas. Despite their compatibility together, the team expects to break up their two rookies when training camp begins, however. “Probably a little harder in the NHL to put the two young players like that together,” Carolina general manager Don Waddell said. “Down the road I can see it, but I think right now [coach Rod Brind’Amour’s] plan is probably to break them up in camp, let them play with some veteran players.”
- Philadelphia Flyers’ prospect Carter Hart hopes to convince the team that’s he’s ready to make the leap to the NHL and give the Flyers a cure to their goaltending issues, according to NHL.com’s Bill Meltzer. The 20-year-old goaltender dominated juniors for the last two years, and was named the CHL’s Goaltender of the Year for two straight years, a feat no goaltender has ever accomplished before. Of course, winning a job in the NHL would be quite a challenge as most feel he’ll spend the year in the AHL, but if he could do it, he’d have to beat out Brian Elliott, Michal Neuvirth, Alex Lyon and Anthony Stolarz.