Islanders’ Mathew Barzal: ‘I’d love to play my career on Long Island’

New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) celebrates with the bench after scoring against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Sunday, June 13, 2021. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

HENDERSON, NV – Mathew Barzal delivered music for New York Islanders fans’ ears.

The club’s top centreman and most dynamic offensive threat said Thursday that he’d like to remain an Islander long beyond the summer of 2023, when his current contract expires.

“I mean, if things go well, I’d love to play my career on Long Island. I take a lot of pride in that. All my favourite athletes of all time — Michael Jordan, Sidney Crosby … Tom Brady’s in Tampa now, but for so long [was in New England]. That’s just a really cool thing,” Barzal told Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek during a recording of the 32 Thoughts podcast.

“That’s something I’m hoping I can do.”

The last time Barzal was due for a raise, he and general manager Lou Lamoriello kicked the big payday down the road. The sides agreed to a three-year, $21-million bridge contract in 2021.

Barzal will be due a significant raise as a restricted free agent in the summer of 2023 — and this time around he’ll wield arbitration rights.

Since becoming an Islanders regular in 2017-18, Barzal has far and away been the franchise’s most productive player (311 points). (Josh Bailey ranks second on the Isles over that span, with 249 points.) He has also thrived in the post-season, piling up 38 points in 48 playoff appearances.

During Thursday’s interview, the B.C-born and -bred Barzal raved about his New York lifestyle, how he can golf a world-class course during the day and catch a Broadway show and five-star dinner at night.

Barzal took note of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ ability to re-sign free agents Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang this off-season and would love to be part of growing a similarly committed core on Long Island.

“I’m so close with everyone on my team,” Barzal said. “We have an unbelievable group of guys. We’re all so tight.”

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