NHL Rumors and Notes: Mathew Barzal, Haydn Fleury, and Ranger musings
The New York Islanders are interested in extending Mathew Barzal before the offseason.
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Mathew Barzal and other top restricted free agents

Steven Ellis of The Hockey News:  The buzz of the 2020 restricted free agent class has lessened. With Nico Hischier and Alex DeBrincat signed, that leaves only one big left. That would be Mathew Barzal. Barzal expects to be around a point a game again this year and see a big payday.

There are other restricted free agents out there but none like Barzal. The Islanders have so much cap space to sign the center, it is unlikely that the situation becomes acrimonious at all.

Among the other RFA’s are Anthony Mantha, Max Domi, Mikhail Sergachev, and Matt Murray. Murray comes close to approaching Barzal’s level but the last season or so has not been consistent. The Pittsburgh goaltender endured his fair share of inconsistent play. Domi represents the best offensively talented among this list but again can he keep the machine rolling?

What about Haydn Fleury

Sara Civian of The Athletic:  Unfortunately, Fleury appears the odd defenseman out at some point for Carolina. Fleury has been healthy scratched for four straight games. What can Carolina do? They can phase him back in but he is more than a number seven defenseman. Carolina trading him is possible. What kind of value does one get in return?

The final scenario involves trading Trevor van Riemsdyk to give Fleury a true chance. That may ultimately prove to be the case.

The Rangers youth and their emotions

Rick Carpinello of The Athletic:  Do you see a Mathew Barzal get as bent out of shape as the young Rangers? That answer is no. It is in a lot of ways the difference between the Islanders and Rangers the past season or two. One is a good team and the other is an “all over the map” team.

They are a .500 team with youth like Tony DeAngelo and Kaapo Kakko on the roster. For every good play, the younger players seem to make a few bad missteps. Kakko scored his third goal against Ottawa but then made a few defensive gaffes. His were far from the worst though.

With Brandon Lemieux fighting and Lias Andersson looking out of place, it was easy to see why they lost to Ottawa. Ottawa played agitator and New York fell for it hard. These are things that cannot happen repeatedly.