Under Barry Trotz's defensively detailed system the objective is well defined; play your designated role with accountability and integrity, place trust in the process and in your teammates and through that commitment further opportunities will come.
This season, Scott Mayfield is playing some of the best hockey of his career - and the stats reflect such. Through 28 games this season, the blueliner has already matched his career-best with four goals. Mayfield has nine points, a plus-five rating and is the team's most-used penalty killer averaging 2:41 SH/TOI. Not to mention, the right-shot has a three-game point streak (1G, 2A).
"It's a confidence thing," Mayfield explained. "I think playing more games, you get a little bit more confident on the blueline. You look at the points, the goals and some of them were pretty lucky just hitting off of guys and stuff like that. I was really happy with the [goal] I had in Montreal. I wanted to put it there and I actually converted on it. It's been good for me so far, but that's not really my focus. That's not really my game 100-percent. I want to make sure I take care of the d-zone and am hard and physical. The offense will come from that."
Video: NYI@MTL: Mayfield fires slap shot past Price
The Islanders' 2011 second rounder (34th overall) played in 223-career AHL games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers before becoming a mainstay up top with the Islanders in 2016.
Throughout the learning curve from his transition from college hockey - where he played two seasons with the University of Denver - to professional hockey to becoming a NHLer, Mayfield has grasped the importance of defining and executing his appointed role in the lineup.
"I've played a lot in the American League and a decent amount here now," Mayfield said. "I played at least 150 games in the American League and I think that's where I really learned it. It's not about how good you play; it's about how committed you are to your role and helping the team. Sometimes it's hard. Sometimes you want to do more with your role, or you want to be doing something else, but everyone has designated job. We all know what we have to do. That's what makes a good team, when we all buy into that and when you put the team ahead of yourself."
Under Trotz, the Isles blueline has featured a lefty/righty combination consisting of a traditional stay-at-home d-man paired alongside a more offensively-inclined partner. The pairings often complement one another and encourage the tandem to incorporate strengths from their partner and into their own game. The strategy is evident in the Isles ability to break the puck out so quickly and counterattack on the fly as a result of turnovers.
Mayfield who stands 6-foot-5, 223-pounds has been paired with the Isles smaller, but smooth puckmover in Devon Toews since Toews became a regular in the Isles lineup last December. There's a level of familiarity and comfort between the tandem who played together briefly in Bridgeport back in 2016.
Mayfield has always been one to launch shots from the point, but this season, he's taken some power off his shot and added a little more precision, a similar trait that Toews encompasses. Mayfield's four goals this season have resulted from capitalizing on open lanes and threading pucks through traffic.
"Getting shots through has always been something that I've worked on and something that I've done pretty well at this level," Mayfield said. "As far as it banking off of guys and stuff, you never know. But if you get to the net some good things can happen. It's been fortunate so far. That's not what I'm focused on. I'm glad I've added it to my game. I think playing with Toews helps though. He's a little more offensive-minded."
Video: PIT@NYI: Mayfield scores off defender
Trotz said he sees Mayfield's offense as a bonus to his solid stay-at-home game - and a sign that he's becoming a more patient player now that he's approaching 200 NHL games.
"The one thing that Scotty can do is get pucks through," Trotz added. "He's got such great range - he's got length - he's a big guy that can pull pucks in and get it out of the lane. He gets it on net and with people going to the net, he's benefited from it. Is it an evolution? Probably not. It's something he's always had, but I think he recognizes and sees those lanes a little bit more and is probably a little more patient waiting for traffic to develop before he lets his shot go. Every time he gets it through, we have a chance to score."
As the Islanders continue their road swing with high-octane offenses in Tampa Bay and Florida on deck, Mayfield is focused on continuing to play sharp, confident hockey and do what's asked of him within the Islanders system.
"I know what I have to do to stay in the league and in the lineup for every game," Mayfield said. "That's just what I try and do. You don't want to try and do too much. If you do too much you're not going to play as well. We all have a job. We all know what we need to do to help the team win. As long as we all buy into that, we should have a pretty good game."