[Pause here to freak out about the other lines if you want.]
Oh, you’re back? Okay then. Back to Beauviller.
That ten game mark is important because it means his entry level contract is set to kick in. Even though he wasn’t expected to make the team this year as a 19-year old, the captain of the Shawinigan Cataractes has clearly made an impression on the coaches with his performance and energy in what’s been a trying start to the season.
His numbers are okay - a goal and four assists, about a 49% 5v5 CF - but he’s been a visible jolt of electricity on a few different lines, including spending a little time on John Tavares’s wing (but then again, who hasn’t?). He’s packed a lot of versatility in his 10 minutes of ice time per game (and an ability to kill penalties if necessary), and shown a willingness to engage like a veteran.
Via Newsday back on October 24th:
“He’s just solid,” said Alan Quine, a fellow rookie but four years older than his linemate. Quine scored his first of the season off a solo effort from Beauvillier, who blocked a shot, led a three-on-two, dropped the puck to Quine and took a Minnesota defenseman to the net to clear space.
“It’s remarkable what he’s doing at his age,” Quine said. “He’s just an easy guy to play with, he knows where to be.”
Beauvillier sat out the Islanders’ 3-2 shootout loss to Philadelphia on Thursday because the coaches didn’t like how he looked in the previous two games. His appearance against the Oilers seems to indicate that the team is taking it slow, but still feels he can contribute this season.
Fellow rookie Mathew Barzal is also still with the Islanders, although his situation is very different from Beauvillier’s. Both made the team’s season-opening 23-man roster out of camp, which is why veteran P.A. Parenteau was placed on waivers and ended up on division rival New Jersey (there’s also that extra goalie thing we won’t talk about right now).
Since then, Barzal has only played in two games, and while he has talent and creativity to spare, he’s seen as strictly a center, where the Islanders already have Tavares, Strome, Brock Nelson and Casey Cizikas. Barzal also hasn’t quite made the adjustment defensively from junior to the NHL and a couple of turnovers (which will happen when you’re a creative center type) have ended up in the back of the Islanders’ net.
There’s still time for the Islanders to decide if they want to send Barzal back to his junior team in Seattle or not (it’s ten games played, not overall). But sitting him isn’t helping him hone his game, and if more losses pile up, the coaching staff might be even less inclined to live with the kid’s mistakes. I imagine going back to the WHL two months into the season, would be a hard pill to swallow.
While both players have shown signs of sticking around, there is another mile marker to look out for. At the 40 game mark, players begin cutting into their time accrued towards free agency. I’ll let Bob McKenzie, a man much more learned than me about many topics, explain:
The truth is fewer and fewer teams are worrying about the nine-game/10-game decision and are much more cognizant and careful about the 39-game/40-game threshold. In some cases there are actually financial benefits to burning the first year of a player's entry-level contract, but once a player is on the NHL roster for the club's first 40 games, that counts as a year's service toward free agency.
And that is a very big deal.
Seven years of service currently gets an NHL player to unrestricted free agency — either that or age 27 — so if an underage player in the NHL were returned to his junior club after the team's 39th game but before the 40th, this season wouldn't count toward the player's seven-year UFA meter.
While I won’t tell you not to buy a custom Beauvillier No. 72 or Barzal No. 13 jersey today, I will say that by February, it might seem more like a down payment on the future rather than being the first in line for a new iPhone.