Isles prospect Barzal named MVP of WHL playoffs

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New York Islanders prospect Mathew Barzal was named MVP of the WHL playoffs after helping his Seattle Thunderbirds clinch a berth in the Memorial Cup last night in Regina.

Barzal, the 16th overall pick in the 2015 draft, finished the postseason with seven goals and 18 assists in 16 games.

Many expected the 19-year-old forward to be in the NHL this season, but he was returned to junior after just two games with the Isles.

“I’ve had a couple of ups and down this year, getting sent back, losing the World Juniors,” said Barzal. “It just feels so great, especially to win with this group of guys.”

It’s the first time the Thunderbirds have ever been WHL champs. Seattle joins the Erie Otters (OHL), Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL), and host Windsor Spitfires in the Memorial Cup, which begins Friday.