Islanders’ Scott Mayfield getting his legs back after 22-game absence
Scott Mayfield is a part of whatever improvement plan the Islanders have.
Which is why, even as this lost season sputters to its conclusion with a second straight playoff absence, it’s important the 25-year-old defenseman has returned to the lineup following a lengthy injury absence. The 6-4, 227-pound Mayfield was a plus-1 in 14:33 with two shots, three blocked shots and two very noticeable giveaways in one sequence in the Islanders’ 4-3 win at Ottawa on Tuesday night.
“I think that was big for me,” said Mayfield, selected 34th overall in 2011. “I just want to make sure I can go into the summer with the right mindset, know that I can play and that it’s getting healthy and that it feels pretty good out there. I want to play in a couple of games.”
Mayfield, who missed 22 games after injuring his left ankle on Feb. 5, is expected to be in the lineup again when the Islanders (32-35-10) face the Maple Leafs on Friday night at Barclays Center.
The Islanders made a commitment to Mayfield to be part of their future when he agreed to a five-year, $7.25-million extension on Jan. 4.
“He’s young, he’s tall, he’s big, he’s only getting smarter the more he plays,” said veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, who was paired with Mayfield at Ottawa. “He’s definitely a very important part for this team.”
“It’s important to realize what they’ve given me,” Mayfield said of the Islanders. “I’m very humbled and very appreciative of the opportunity. I’ve spent some time at Bridgeport [AHL], I’ve been up and down. It’s nice to have some stability. Now, it’s showing the coaching staff, my teammates, everyone I can make a difference and make sure we turn the ship around.”
Mayfield has two goals, 10 assists and 43 penalty minutes in 44 games for the Islanders this season, the first since joining the organization out of the University of Denver in 2013 he has not spent time in the AHL
“It’s been kind of a roller-coaster year,” Mayfield said. “I had a lot of time to watch some games while I was out. I know what I need to do. I know what it takes to play in this league now and I know I can. So, it’s getting my confidence back, getting my feet under me and getting out and playing.”
Mayfield acknowledged he’s not yet back to 100 percent in terms of his health — “I’ll put it in the 80s somewhere” — as he works to regain his ankle strength.
“I don’t know when I’ll get back to 100 because it’s a tough spot,” said Mayfield, listing his footwork, improvement in puck skills and first passes as among his offseason to-do list.