During the expansion draft, the New York Islanders protected five defensmen, including Ryan Pulock, and Adam Pelech. Many thought that these two were protected so that they could take big roles in the NHL this season. While Pelech has played every game this season, Ryan Pulock has not. His successor? Scott Mayfield.
Coming into this season, Scott Mayfield was looked at as the eighth defensemen, with guys like Pulock, and Dennis Seidenberg expected to play over him. But it has been the other way around, as Mayfield has taken Siedenberg’s spot on defense and has left Pulock as the eighth defensemen. The former second round draft pick has played all but two games this season, and has taken his opportunity to play and has run with it. And head coach Doug Weight is not shy to put Mayfield on the ice in the big moments of a game. So the question is: Why does Doug Weight like Scott Mayfield so much?
Size and Toughness
There is no question that a big part of Scott Mayfield’s game has to do with his size. Mayfield stands 6″4, and weighs 227 pounds. His size is what makes his physicality so great. He always able to make a big hit when needed. When the Islanders need a defensemen to play big minutes and present his physicality in a big game, Mayfield is a very clutch defensmen. And is great at clearing away opposing players around the net. And the St. Louis native is never afraid to fight to defend his teammates.
You may be asking, “Scott Mayfield is a good offenseive defenseman?” If you take a look at his stats from this season and last, he has been a good offensive defensemen, for the role that he plays. Last season, Mayfield scored two goals, and had seven assists in only 25 games. If Mayfield were to have played all 82 games last season and kept up this offensive play, he would have scored around 30 points, which is great for a bottom pairing defensemen. This season, Scott is a +1, and has one goal and one assist through his first eight games of the season. It is also visible this season that Mayfield is able to generate more plays by bringing the puck up into the offensive zone (something he rarely did last season), and is not afraid to shoot the puck.
It has been a great season for Scott Mayfield so far. He has suprised the coaches and the fans with his play. He has been good on both sides of the puck. What was supposed to be the Islanders seventh or eighth defensemen this season, has turned into one of the team’s most reliable defensemen.