Mathew Barzal doesn’t feel like leaving Islanders: ‘This is home’

Mathew Barzal’s favorite athletes have all played with the same team throughout their careers.

During the Islanders’ breakup day Saturday morning, Barzal named Michael Jordan, Sidney Crosby and Patrick Kane (and no, he’s not counting Jordan’s brief comeback with the Wizards) as the players he’d like to join.

“Of course I’ve thought about it,” Barzal said when asked about the possibility of a long-term extension. “Would love to be here on the island. This is home. This is where I want to be, this is where I want to win.”

Next season is the last of Barzal’s current three-year $21 million deal with the Islanders, after which he will enter a limited free agency of arbitration courts. One year after that, he’ll be eligible for unlimited free desk.

However, he wants to avoid that process.

“I love my life here,” he said. “I love the city, love the fans, of course our new ice rink is great. I like to wear blue and orange. I’d love to sign here for the long term – I think it’s so cool when a player plays with one team for their entire career.”

Mathew Barzal
Mathew Barzal
Corey Sipkin

The 24-year-old Barzal has scored 15 goals and 44 assists this season. He missed a handful of games in February with both COVID-19 and injury. After Jordan Eberle was included in the expansion release, the Islanders struggled to find Barzal linemates he could interact with, though towards the end of the season it worked out well for him to play with Zach Parise and Kyle Palmieri on either side. .

“I think I may have been disappointed that it didn’t click as quickly as I wanted, again with guys affected by COVID, guys getting hurt and in and out of the lineup, it can be hard to find that chemistry, said Barzal. “I’m proud to be a center man who can play with anyone.”

Barzal is part of the core Islanders – a group that has intent to come back next season and straighten things out after things went sideways in 2021-22. The Islanders are unlikely to make any major changes this off-season after general manager Lou Lamoriello held them together on the March trade deadline.

“I want to compete for the Stanley Cup every year,” said Barzal. “Obviously it’s the day after the end of the season, but this group is already excited to return.”

Andy Greene isn’t ready to announce a decision on his future yet and says he will talk to his family and Lamoriello about a possible retirement before doing so.

“I really can’t say it one way or another,” said the 39-year-old. “It’s just time to take the emotion out of everything, let it settle and see what happens next.”

Andy Greene
Andy Greene

If Greene returns to the NHL next season, he would love to be with the Islanders. He has spent his entire career in the Tri-State area, first with the Devils from 2006-2020 before being traded to the islanders just before the pandemic.

“It was nothing but a great experience, great guys, great organization from head to toe, as you know,” said Greene. “Where I’m at in my career, it’s probably here or nowhere.”

Goaltander Semyon Varlamov, who will hit unrestricted free agency at the end of next season, said he was glad the Islanders didn’t move him on the trade deadline and that he wants to stay with the team in the future.

“I have one more year with the Islanders and then I want to be here next year,” Varlamov said. “I wanted to finish this season with this team anyway. I didn’t want to be moved in the middle of the season and play somewhere else. I believe in this team.”

Cal Clutterbuck and Scott Mayfield, who both missed the last six weeks of the season with injuries, expect to be ready for training camp. The only hindrance to Clutterbuck’s off-season training program is that he could be delayed entering the ice, while Mayfield said he expects everything to be back to normal.

Noah Dobson was hesitant when asked about signing a long-term deal with the Islanders, saying he hadn’t given it much thought, but his agent and Lamoriello would be sitting down sometime off-season. Dobson, 22, who broke out with 51 points this season, is a restricted free agent.

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