While fellow first-rounders Matthew Barzal, Joshua Ho-Sang and Michael Dal Colle have gotten a chunk of the media attention in Brooklyn this preseason, New York Islanders’ 2015 first-round pick, Anthony Beauvillier, has made an impact and has to be in consideration for a roster spot as well.
Scoring 40 goals in 47 games in juniors last season and 15 more in the playoffs, Beauvillier is a sniper. Able to play all three forward positions and on the power play and penalty kill, Beauvillier may have more versatility than his young peers vying for a spot on the team.
Support of Coaching Staff
“To me, he’s one of the guys that’s emerged,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano told Newsday of Beauvillier. “Put him at center, put him at left wing, right wing, in all situations. He does things the right way. Some of these young guys aren’t going to come in and play top-six minutes, so what kind of role are you going to play on our team? That’s what we’re looking for right now.”
Because of the multi-faceted nature of Beauvillier’s game, if he makes this year’s squad out of camp, he’ll most likely be put in a different role than a playmaker the likes of Barzal, who could be an option centering possibly the second or third line. An option at left wing if Andrew Ladd and John Tavares don’t find any early chemistry, Beauvillier could be a sleeper success straight out of camp. Able to agitate the opposition with his speed as well, Beauvillier could even be used in a fourth line role if the Islanders are looking for more offense from their bottom six.
“You are looking at the work ethic of the guys and how they are competing on their battles,” Capuano told The New York Times. “If there are spots available, for me it’s what you’re doing without the puck — making high-percentage plays.”
Understanding the Transitions Needed to Play in the Pros
Adapting his game to the pro level should have been a challenge for the 19-year-old, but with his speed and penchant for the puck, Beauvillier, who had the game-winner against the Devils on Wednesday, has hardly looked out of place. Unlike Ho-Sang, who will start the season in Bridgeport if he doesn’t make the Islanders, Beauvillier knows it’s the Isles or back to juniors, where he has nothing left to prove.
“It’s pro hockey, it’s not junior anymore, so I’ve got to do things a little different,” Beauvillier told Newsday. “In junior, you can cheat a little bit for offensive chances, but you can’t do that here. I can play different types of games and it’s what I have to do if I want to take that next step.”
With Dal Colle, Barzal, Ho-Sang and one-way contracts of Shane Prince, Alan Quine and the presence of veteran Stephen Gionta, all looking for a spot on the roster, Beauvillier still has an uphill battle in order to earn a spot on this year’s team.
With more cuts are coming on Thursday and the season opener a week away, Beauvillier has forced the Isles to make a difficult decision about his future.