Throughout the offseason, questions have loomed regarding Mathew Barzal and a potential long-term extension to remain with the New York Islanders. Barzal is entering the final year of his contract (RFA) and has ben adamant about wanting to remain on the island.
We caught up with Mathew Barzal following his skate on Day 1 of training camp.
“Anytime you’re on the last year of your deal, it’s, you know, in the back of your mind, but no at the end of the day, team success translates to individual success,” Barzal shared. “So as long as the team’s winning and we’re in the playoffs and in the hunt for Stanley Cup, individual successful comes.
“So personally, just trying to focus on setting a good example at camp, trying to, you know, set the pace and just be the player player I know I can be and obviously just helped this team win. That’s key.”
On Monday, New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello raved about Mathew Barzal, calling himself a big fan.
“Continue to become the better player that he’s become each and every year. We expect a lot out of him. He expects a lot out of himself,” Lamoriello shared. “And he’s worked very hard during the summer for that. You know, he’s without question one of our leaders, you know, without question, probably our most talented player, and he’s committed without question.”
“He’s ready to prove a lot of things, and I got total confidence, and I’m his biggest fan.”
Mathew Barzal was happy to hear the compliment and shared that the feeling is mutual.
“Well, I think the great thing about here is just having Lou is there’s always respect. It’s never bashing and there’s never, ‘Your worth, this or that’, it’s always fair. It’s always honest. And when you have that mutual respect, I think you always want to go run through a wall for a guy like that. So that’s kind of where my head’s at.”
As for getting a deal done before the start of the season:
“I’ve said it before, I would obviously really like to have a deal here,” Barzal said. “There’s obviously both sides of that and further to say that, yes, the other day in the media was obviously a huge compliment. And obviously [I’m] a massive fan of him and the structure he brings in and you know, one day when I’m older, I’m gonna take things with me, you know, that I learned from him, hopefully, in a management role one day.”
“But I mean, you know, hopefully, there’s still two weeks before the season and we can hammer something out. If not, I’m not really worried about it just because my heart’s here and I know that it gets something fair and for something both sides would be happy about.”
Mathew Barzal is on the final year of his three-year deal. He is set to become an unrestricted free agent following the 2023-24 season. The focus, clearly, is on team success but with his desire to remain here long-term and the Islanders finanical position (which allows for it), there is the potential for a deal to come before the start of the season.
We shall wait and see.