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Top 25U25: #4 Anthony Beauvillier had a breakout second half

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After some early sophomore struggles, Anthony Beauvillier established himself as a top six winger with a breakout second half.

Columbus Blue Jackets v New York Islanders
Beau has established himself in the Isles’ top six
Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

In Anthony Beauvillier’s rookie season, he was cast as a player who could grind and bring energy like Casey Cizikas. He did alright in that role as a 19 year old, with 9 goals and 24 points in 66 NHL games. However, some struggles the following season found the young forward spending a little bit of time in Bridgeport. With the Sound Tigers, Beauvillier scored 2 goals in 3 games and was recalled and placed on a line with Mathew Barzal. The two had played together before, and found instant chemistry on the Islanders. Beauvillier ended the season with 21 goals, 36 points in 71 games.

Beauvillier had always been a high-scoring forward, putting together back to back 40+ goal seasons with the Shawinigan Cataractes of the QMJHL, including 40 goals in 47 games in his Draft+1 year in 2015-16. Being a high scoring junior hockey player doesn’t guarantee you’ll be a star goalscorer in the NHL by any means, but it felt like Beauvillier might have been miscast as a grinder early on. He’s played well with elite talent, and though he might not have the ability to drive play on his own, he’s managed to be an extremely good fit with Barzal and was always finding the right spaces to be in to make an impact play.

Away from Barzal, he’s been fine, too, but the 2017-18 Islanders’ bottom six was often where offense went to die. When put in the best position to succeed, Beauvillier has shown he can play at a high level in the NHL, and can be a great complimentary player that every team needs.

The Islanders will need Beauvillier to take another major step in his development this coming season. He’s one of the higher end talents on the team, but if he doesn’t play with Barzal, he’s going to need to contribute more offense on his own, something he’s struggled with. If he can build off his second half and find his consistent goalscoring ability in the NHL, he’ll be an important piece for the Islanders going forward.

Rationales:

Travis:

You may know that Beauvillier's 1.15 goals/60 at 5v5 places him 17th among 301 forwards with 700+ minutes this past season, but did you know that without Barzal at 5v5 he was 1.08 goals/60, which would still place him in the top 30? And it wasn't all shooting luck. His individual scoring-chance shot attempts without Barzal: 8.61 per-60, good for 61st of 301 forwards.

CIL:

I really like BVR as a supporting player deployed with the elite talent. He does everything well you could ask for. He can also skate and think the game at the modern NHL level. The fact he has a decent shot doesn't hurt either. The only reason I didn't rank him higher is b/c I think the players and prospects ranked above him have both a higher ceiling and a solid probability of panning out.

Mike B:

Beau is turning into what the Isles hoped for in Ryan Strome. They're going to need him to take another step forward for them this season, and let's hope he has it in him.

HockeyGoalieEh:

Beauvillier was one of my favourite Islander picks of all time given where he was selected. He's shown great scoring touch. Hopefully he can round out the rest of his skills and become a complete NHL player.

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