Doug Weight didn't have an exact number in mind, but figured Mathew Barzal would be at least a 60-point player at the beginning of the season.
With two more points in the Islanders' 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night, the Isles rookie is already up to 75 this season.
"I felt like he was at least a 60-point guy that was going to get an opportunity. I don't think anybody would have thought he'd have over a point-a-game and play the way he's playing," Weight said. "He's come on fast and hard."
Video: Barzal, Tavares lead Islanders past Penguins, 4-1
Barzal had a goal and an assist on Tuesday, becoming the first Isles rookie to hit the 20-goal mark since Anders Lee in 2013-14 and the first NHL rookie to record 55 assists since Nicklas Backstrom in 2007-08.
"It's an honor to be mentioned with a guy like Nick Backstrom and to get 20 goals," Barzal, a leading candidate for the Calder Trophy, said. "Obviously that takes a lot of help from my teammates setting me up and making good plays. The whole 20 goals thing is kind of a team effort and I'm happy to get it."
Video: PIT@NYI: Barzal deflects shot past Murray
The Islanders busted out of a three-game losing streak on Tuesday, playing spoiler in the Penguins quest for a division title. Weight and the Islanders felt like it was close to a 60-minute effort, with the Isles jumping out to an early 2-0 lead and getting a quality 36-save, bounce-back effort from Christopher Gibson.
Barzal put the Islanders on the board first, catching a piece of a Johnny Boychuk slap shot at 5:10. The Islanders extended the lead five minutes later, as Adam Pelech stepped into a missile that he ripped by Matt Murray at 10:33. Murray was making his first start after missing nine games with a concussion.
Video: PIT@NYI: Pelech extends Isles' lead with one-timer
Pittsburgh made some pushes throughout the night, but only solved Gibson once off a Conor Sheary one-timer in the second period. Aside from that, the rookie goalie rebounded from Thursday's tough outing for his second win of the season. He admitted there were nerves before the game, but settled in nicely after a few early saves.
Gibson made his fair share of big stops too, denying Riley Sheahan on a shorthanded breakaway in the first period and stretching out with the pad to stop Bryan Rust on the doorstep.
Video: PIT@NYI: Gibson shuts down Sheahan's breakaway
"You always want to bounce back when you have a tough game like that," Gibson said. "I wasn't happy at all with the game I played against Washington so I just told myself that when I get that next chance, I have to be ready to go."
Lee added the insurance marker for the Islanders in the third period, roofing a Barzal feed short side by Murray for his team-leading 36th of the season. Lee's power-play goal was the Islanders sixth in the past three games. Jordan Eberle iced it with an empty-netter.
"I think we can finish the season strong and set ourselves up as much as we can for next season," Lee said. "That's where we're at right now. Just eight or nine games of good, hard hockey."
Video: PIT@NYI: Lee beats Murray with smooth backhand
Adam Pelech recorded his first-career game-winning goal on Tuesday… Ryan Pulock extended his point streak to a career-long four games… Jordan Eberle notched his 25th goal of the season… Thomas Hickey played in his 400th career NHL game.
The Islanders five-game homestand continues on Thursday night as they host the Tampa Bay Lightning. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.
Video: NYI 4 vs PIT 1: Doug Weight
Video: NYI 4 vs PIT 1: Mat Barzal
Video: NYI 4 vs PIT 1: Anders Lee
Video: NYI 4 vs PIT 1: Christopher Gibson