It hasn’t been the kind of start Anthony Beauvillier was looking for this year.
The New York Islanders’ left winger has been held to just one goal over his first 13 games of the 2018-19 season as Monday night’s loss to the Montreal Canadiens marked the fifth-consecutive pointless game.
Some pretty high expectations were placed on the shoulders of the 21-year-old after last season in which he recorded seven goals and four assists in his final nine games of the season to cap off a 21-goal campaign.
His partnership with franchise center Mathew Barzal down the stretch prompted new head coach Barry Trotz to line Beauvillier alongside the reigning Calder Trophy winner, but the slow start has prompted Trotz to shuffle things around to try and get Beauvillier’s game going.
Nothing has worked even with Trotz reuniting Beauvillier with Barzal on the second line.
There have been chances for the Quebec native, especially against his hometown Canadiens. A redirection of a slap pass from Barzal nearly founds its way into the back of the net before he was denied on a breakaway by Antti Niemi.
His lack of output, along with Barzal’s (he has just one goal to go with 11 assists) hasn’t been felt all too much as the Islanders are getting production from all corners of the depth chart. Along with the stellar goaltending of Thomas Greiss, it has played a large part in the team’s surprising start in which they sit atop the Metropolitan Division with 18 points through 14 games.
But should the team begin to foreshadow a nosedive and the offense slumps, Beauvillier’s standing on the team could be in jeopardy, even if it is just for an abbreviated period of time.
Within the Islanders’ farm system at Bridgeport, a pair of wingers in Josh Ho-Sang (right wing) and Michael Dal Colle (left wing) is currently tearing it up.
Often the controversial figure, Ho-Sang was expected by many to be in the NHL full-time by now at 22 years old. However, attitude issues have withheld him from making the jump.
After comments made to the New York Post in which he claimed he wasn’t given a proper chance to make the team in training camp, nor was he given the opportunity to prepare for life as a top-six forward. In his first nine games of the season at Bridgeport, Ho-Sang was spending most of his time on the third line.
But after being promoted to the top unit alongside the right winger Dal Colle, the Islanders suddenly have two of the AHL’s hottest scorers.
In his last three games, Ho-Sang has recorded a goal and seven assists (eight points) while Dal Colle has three goals and two assists to expand his team lead to 13 points in just 10 games played.
Should that kind of production continue down in Bridgeport, it would be difficult for the Islanders to not make a change should the offense become in need of a spark. Beauvillier would obviously be a prime candidate to be replaced should his woes continue.
After Monday night’s game, Trotz didn’t necessarily deny the possibility of any possible lineup changes being made when asked, stating there were just some things that had to be “burned” from the loss to Montreal.
“We’re trying to get points every night,” Trotz said. “We just have to be better”