Andy Graziano and I have begun our annual season review, taking a look back at the 2016-17 Islanders and analyzing each player's performance in a down season that saw the team miss the playoffs by one point.
We will be offering two reviews per week that will take us right through to the beginning of training camp in September. Of course, there are a couple of things to sort out prior, such as free agency and potential trades that could alter the look of this franchise going forward.
Contract details via nhlnumbers.com and stats courtesy of hockeyreference.com.
42 - Scott Mayfield - Defenseman
6-foot-4, 224 pounds
24 years old
Contract: $0.675 cap hit through 2017-18, restricted free agent
Season: 25 GP, 2 G - 7 A - 9 Pts, 35 PIM, 39 Shots, 14:08 TOI, 51.0 Corsi
Career: 36 GP, 3 G - 7 A - 10 Pts, 53 PIM, 50 Shots, 15:05 TOI, 50.1 Corsi
Here's one that came out of nowhere. I'll admit, I overlook Mayfield almost every summer. Yes, I love the way he grinds it out, and when I wrote his report card last year, I mentioned that I thought he had shown flashes of potential in his small sample size that could imply he's ready to take on more responsibility. So I guess it shouldn't really surprise me that this year, when he was forced into action due to some injuries on the blue line, he did not disappoint.
Still, I'm shocked how impressed I am with Mayfield, as he continued to make smart decisions with the puck. His 35 penalty minutes in 25 games shows he's never shy from taking on any challenge. But what I love most is the possession metrics, which is something I didn't really expect from him. At every turn, he seemed to be throwing the puck toward the net, and it made a difference on the score sheet.
Mayfield probably had his best offensive night in a big two-point game against the Penguins back on Nov. 30, and when he wasn't showing up in the box score, he was making sure the Isles were moving the puck in the right direction. That in and of itself is a major positive.
Is Mayfield a finished product at this point? Probably not, but when you look at how the Isles' blue line is starting to shape up, that's okay. With Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy at the top, and Calvin de Haan and Dennis Seidenberg rounding out the second pairing, Mayfield can step in at any point with Thomas Hickey to give a defenseman a breather and safeguard against any potential Ryan Pulock struggles, all while making his case for a regular role in the coming year when Boychuk's minutes will probably drop off a little and Seidenberg will move on.
IPB Grade: A: I'm not sure what more you could expect from Mayfield in his 25 games. He played big and smart, and he probably deserves more ice time as a result. Whether he gets it or not is another issue, but the Isles certainly have more depth on the blue line than some give them credit for -- and Mayfield is a big reason.