08 Jun GETTING TO KNOW NEW YORK ISLANDERS MATT BARZAL
Name: Mathew Barzal
Born: May 26, 1997 (age 24) in Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada
Weight: 189 lb
NHL Draft: 16th overall, 2015 to the New York Islanders
2021 Salary: This past January he signed a three-year, $21 million contract.
Center Mathew Barzal remains New York’s most dangerous offensive player and is leading the Islanders in the playoffs. This past Monday, Barzal scored a power-play goal and assisted on another in the 5-4 victory over the Bruins in Game 5. He also had three shots and one hit.
Who do you credit your hockey career to?
My mom and dad are the only reason that I’m here in the NHL. They’ve dedicated the last 17 years of their lives to making me the player that I am. Their whole lives have been hockey, too. I could never pay them back for all the hours they put into me. I’m just glad I can repay them in a way where they can be happy watching me succeed.
Have you always been a great skater?
I’ve always been a pretty good skater. It’s been one of the better assets of my game from a young age, but the last few seasons I’ve really worked on my speed and gotten faster.That took my game to the next level.
Growing up, who was your favorite hockey player?
Sidney Crosby & Patrick Kane. I loved Sidney Crosby’s down-low play and his determination. Patrick Kane is just a warrior. I love how he creates space and how skilled he is. His vision on the ice I always watched him to try and learn about how effective he is when he’s out there.
Who was your favorite NHL team growing up?
I was a big Chicago Blackhawks fan. I actually started out as a Calgary Flames fan when I was really young. I was big into Jarome Iginla. Once Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews came into the league, I just liked watching the way they play and their style so I grew towards the Blackhawks.
Other than the Coli and Barclays, what arena do you like playing at?
MSG because of the rivalry and Chicago because of the atmosphere and the anthems.
Which NHL player do you feel you have a similar skill set and are trying to emulate?
I say Claude Giroux. We play kind of a similar game but I also really like to watch other guys play like Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane and Pavel Datsyuk. I try to take things that they do but I think my overall game is more like Claude Giroux.
What is your favorite activity or hobby away from hockey?
I’m a big basketball guy. Huge fan of Lebron James!
How do you deal with pressure?
When you’re prepared for something and ready to go, there really is no pressure, I don’t really find that there’s too much.