20 Prospects in 20 Days: Mathew Barzal

Published on June 10th, 2015
(Christopher Mast/Everett Silvertips)

(Christopher Mast/Everett Silvertips)

By: Andy Hughes (@PensNation_Andy)

With only 16 days left until the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft in Florida, I will be breaking down a prospect each day up until June 26th. This is the fourth consecutive year I am doing these features so I hope you enjoy! Today, we will take a closer look at forward Mathew Barzal.

(NHL.com)

Center Mathew Barzal, Seattle (WHL), 18 years old

Height: 5’11”, Weight: 175 pounds, Shoots: Right

RANKED:

NHL Central Scouting: 11th among Noth American skaters
TSN: 15th among all players

2014-15 Stats: 44 games played, 12 goals, 45 assists, 57 points, 20 penalty minutes

 

The 2014-15 season for Mathew Barzal of the Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL) was full of ups and downs. After notching 23 points in 22 games to begin the season Barzal went down with a knee injury, which forced him to miss a good chunk of games. Fortunately for him as well as his draft stock, Barzal bounced back quickly. He totaled 34 points after returning to the Seattle lineup. The former first overall pick in the WHL Draft (2012) registered 12 goals and 45 assists in 44 total games, which is impressive no matter what the circumstances are. In addition, Barzal notched 4 goals and 4 assists in 6 playoff games. In a season where it looked like he might have a hard time bouncing back after an injury, he played better after it. Teams love seeing that and I’m sure Barzal will get picked in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft. Offensively, he has all of the tools to be a productive player. He stick handles extremely well, which makes it difficult for opponents to knock the puck off him. Combine that with his great vision and skating and you’ve got yourself a pretty good offensive player. Barzal’s shot is very good too. However, scouts say he needs to use it more often. He has been described as a good two-way player who knows what to do in the defensive zone. That’s always good to hear but Barzal has not played a two-way game as consistently as he should, according to some who have watched him. There are some nights where he isn’t working as hard in the defensive zone, which could easily change with an NHL head coach.

As a result of his injury, Barzal may need a year or two before coming up to the NHL. But he certainly has all of the tools to become a first or second line center someday. In mock drafts he has been linked to the Boston Bruins (14th) and Florida Panthers (11th). Either of those are a good bet for Barzal. I don’t think he’ll be left on the board after the 15th overall pick. Whoever ends up with him will be getting a very talented player who could really do some damage in the NHL.

VIDEO:

Previously Seen in “20 Prospects in 20 Days”:

Thomas Chabot
Evgeny Svechnikov
Mikko Rantanen
Ilya Samsonov

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