A first-round pick by the New York Islanders (No. 16) at the 2015 NHL Draft, Barzal made his NHL debut with New York on Oct. 15, 2016, at the Washington Capitals. The speedy center played one more game with the Islanders before he was returned to Seattle of the Western Hockey League.
Barzal was MVP of the WHL playoffs in 2017 after finishing with 25 points (seven goals, 18 assists) in 16 games, helping Seattle win the league championship for the first time. He was also the WHL's Western Conference Player of the Year after finishing with 79 points (10 goals, 69 assists) in 41 regular-season games.