MAYFIELD BRINGS BIG GAME TO SOUND TIGERS
Mayfield, 21, is the only defensemen to have played every game this season and just one of two on the entire roster—the other being Anders Lee. He’s been an asset for a team that’s needed that stability on the back end.
“I think the more games you play the more you’re going to adapt to it,” Mayfield said. “I know being comfortable is an important part for my game. I’m very humbled I’ve been able to play in every game, your first year pro can be tough in that aspect.”
Mayfield did see some time with the Sound Tigers last season, playing six games at the end of the 2012-13 season. He was the second-round (34th overall) pick of the Islanders in 2011 and played two years at the University of Denver before signing an entry-level deal.
“It all started last year with the six games that I played up here,” Mayfield said. “I think those gave me a little bit of an idea of what I had to do this summer. That led me into training camp, which was a huge step up playing at that NHL level, but I think I learned a lot from the guys there and I’m just trying to get better every day. Now, going into the Sound Tigers season, through the first 30 games I think I’ve improved.”
Mayfield knows, however, that getting to the ultimate goal of the NHL is an ongoing process.
“It’s something that never ends,” Mayfield said. “You’re always working to get better and that’s just what you have to do.”
One of the things Mayfield feels can improve his game even more is his size and strength, something that is of paramount importance to a player like himself. He brings a hard-nosed intensity to the lineup every night and getting bigger can only help in that regard.
“I know that it’s part of my game to be heavy in the corners, block shots and play well in front of the net,” Mayfield said. “I have to take care of the D zone and hopefully be playing against their top line. That kind of shut down role is what I want.”
However, Mayfield also understands the role of a two-way defenseman.
“At the same time, I know I can move the puck up and use my speed to my advantage,” Mayfield said. “So that’s something that I want to show as well.”
Mayfield scored his first professional goal on Oct. 30 against the Hartford Wolf Pack. Through 31 games this season, he’s also added three assists. The offensive numbers aren’t as important as being tough to play against night in and night out.
“To be my best,” Mayfield said, “I just have to keep going out, working hard and fighting for a spot in the lineup every night.”