It’s no question that Anthony Beauvillier has been having fun. At a point per game in the playoffs and two of his six playoff goals coming in the most recent series-clinching game against the caps, Beau has been on his game and elevating the game of others. Where did this come from? Its the question even his teammates must be asking, his response, however, is simple: he’s just having fun. In every post-game interview he humbles himself and puts it simply and almost dismisses it. He’s enjoying himself and whenever he hits the ice he makes the most of it. With the words “have fun” written on his stick handle every game along with a smiley face its no doubt he’s aware of it and wants to keep it going. He’s made it clear the points and personal success come secondary to his momentum and the success of the team. Evidently proving that he is currently a Conn Smythe award contender.
The Quebec native has made it a point to appreciate his ice time. He’s been enjoying himself since juniors where he played for the Shawinigan Cataractes of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He posted an incredible two 40+ goal seasons with the club. In his one of his best seasons in the QMJHL he enjoyed 42 goals and 52 assists for 94 points in 67 games. It was only after he was drafted in 2015 by the Islanders in the first round that he posted a remarkable 40 goals in 47 games. From his teenage years, there was no doubt he could be a formidable offensive mind in the NHL. Beauvillier was one of the best pure offensive players in the QMJHL’s crop of 2015 draft-eligible players.
Style and Contribution
Beauvillier is highly skilled and offers great acceleration and speed through the neutral zone among any teammates. He has great vision with the puck, but can also bury scoring chances when presented. Anthony can lead the game on and off the ice (as he has captaincy experience with the Cataractes). His offensive talent and creativity can astonish any team at all unprepared or loose. This skill set makes Anthony just as fantastic of a goal scorer as it does a playmaker. It still is a worry however if his skill and ability can be subdued or matched with rough defensive play. His size offers him silky movement and great zone entry but is often made invisible by a large and well-versed defenseman, as is the same for any smaller skill player.
The biggest difference between his regular season success and postseason NHL success, however, is consistency and discipline. While he exhibits both in the regular season it is the playoffs where he tightens up. He shines in every minute of his 17 minute average TOI. In the regular season he comes through with a big goal or assist once every two or three games. Now Beau has consistently been the surprising offensive nightmare of veteran goaltenders throughout the postseason. Game in and game out. He can often be a little undisciplined in his defensive play both in the regular season and playoffs but has not had a large sample size of defensive vulnerability. In neither the Florida Panthers series or Washington Capitals series did he come to fault due to coach Barry Trotz’s line matching and paring.
Extended success for Anthony Beauvillier has been a long time coming. Following John Tavares’ it became a common implication that the Islanders top-six would suffer in scoring. Guys like Beauvillier and Matt Barzal, the youngest of the Islanders core were all guesses to how they would respond and play in a defensive system and without a superstar. They, like many Islanders, have enjoyed just as much success and have sneakily improved their games beyond stats. Beauvillier particularly has matured and has grown an extremely strong identity for his game. Complimented by his ideal mentality, playoff success was inevitable and ultimately well deserved.
Being apart of one of the Islanders hottest lines in the regular season, Anthony made his team look fantastic. With the addition of Josh Bailey on Anthony’s second line, the speed of Bailey and the finishing power of Beauvillier has become one of the best playoff duo for the Islanders. A team that can often times lack speed and fluidity at times. So while it may be a surprise for many, the skill and mental game and fortitude of Anthony Beauvillier makes for the perfect playoff performer.