Anthony Beauvillier’s NHL career started in the worst possible way.
“My first three shifts I had three giveaways,” Beauvillier said. “I was just giving the puck away. I couldn’t handle it.”
The 20-year-old forward, selected 28th overall in 2015, has improved from that shaky beginning but is far from a finished product as he nears the end of his second NHL season. And this is far from a successful season for the Islanders, out of the playoffs and headed to the NHL Draft Lottery for a second straight year.
But the speedy left wing, who may yet develop into an NHL center, can take a few individual positives from the second half of this season into his offseason workouts as he prepares for a third NHL campaign.
“Since I came back from Bridgeport (AHL) in January, I think it’s been good,” Beauvillier said. “I’ve been feeling really good about myself since then. That was a good thing for me to go down to Bridgeport and get some confidence. I’m not satisfied yet. I want to be more of an impact player but I kind of came a long way since the beginning of the year.
“It’s hard to explain but it’s just feeling confidence about the way you think and the way you prepare,” Beauvillier added. “I feel like I have less pressure on me to make those little plays and have a little more poise and more confidence.”
He entered Saturday’s game at New Jersey with 18 goals and 13 assists in 67 games as he’s settled into a second-line spot with veteran left wing Andrew Ladd playing himself out of the top six. Beauvillier scored two goals in a three-game stint with Bridgeport before being recalled.
Beauvillier, second-line center Mathew Barzal, 20, expected to win the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year, and defenseman Ryan Pulock, 23, represent the best three young players on the Islanders’ roster as this season enters its final week.
“You do think about that as a player,” Beauvillier said about seemingly being part of the franchise’s foundation moving into next season. “But it doesn’t matter if you’re 20, 28 or 35, it’s about playing the right way and feeling good about yourself.”
Weight weighs in
Islanders coach Doug Weight has been vocal this season about the need for the NHL to bring some clarity to how goalie interference is being called and the review process on challenges.
So, Weight was supportive this week when the NHL Board of Governors approved a recommendation by the general managers — and supported by the NHL Players Association — to have an off-ice official at the NHL Situation Room in Toronto make the final call on goalie interference challenges rather than having the on-ice officials reviewing their own calls.
“I think what we have to do is focus on the league doing the best they can,” Weight said. “Anytime you have tweaks, there’s going to be some sore times. You’ve got to live through it and learn through it. It’s such a fast, spontaneous game, you’re going to have some band-aids along the way. I think we’ve grown from it as a league. The rule is in place. They’ve made it really black and white for us. We’ve just got to get behind it and work through it.”
Sound Tigers nominee
Bridgeport defenseman Kyle Burroughs, 22, a seventh-round pick of the Islanders in 2013 who has yet to make his NHL debut, was announced as the Sound Tigers’ candidate for the AHL’s man of the year award for “outstanding contributions to the local community and charitable organizations during the 2017-18 season.”
It’s the second time in his three AHL seasons Burroughs has been nominated for the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award, which will be chosen from among the 30 finalists.
The NHL this week released its new Draft Lottery system, to be conducted on April 28. This year, there will be a first lottery draw to determine the first overall pick, then a second lottery draw for the second overall pick and, finally, a third lottery draw for the third overall pick. The remaining 12 non-playoff teams will then be assigned picks four through 15 in inverse order of their regular season finish.
Here are the odds to get the first overall pick, from the team finishing with the fewest points to the most (entering Saturday’s play, the Islanders were eighth):
1. 18.5 percent
2. 13.5 percent
3. 11.5 percent
4. 9.5 percent
5. 8.5 percent
6. 7.5 percent
7. 6.5 percent
8. 6.0 percent
9. 5.0 percent
10. 3.5 percent
11. 3.0 percent
12. 2.5 percent
13. 2.0 percent
14. 1.5 percent
15. 1.0 percent
Andrew Gross joined Newsday in 2018 to cover the Islanders. He began reporting on the NHL in 2003 and has previously covered the Rangers and Devils. Other assignments have included the Jets, St. John’s and MLB.