After the New York Islanders traded Devon Toews earlier this month, we expected more moves would be soon to follow. The Islanders need to clear cap space and after the trade, they seemed to have the draft capital to do so. Since then, however, there’s been nothing.
Rumours were that Johnny Boychuk could be dealt, but so far, obviously no moves have been made. We can’t really even speculate on what’s going on, considering Lou Lamoriello could either be having trouble moving a bad contract or could instead be comfortable waiting a bit in order to get the best deal possible, hoping teams drop their price for taking a contract, once they realize teams won’t pay the price they’re asking. Either option is entirely possible.
We’ve seen how brutal this market is. Tyler Johnson, who’s still a serviceable middle-six forward, cleared waivers based on his contract. After Vegas signed Alex Pietrangelo, a legitimate top-four defenseman in Nate Schmidt was traded for just a third-round pick, in order to clear cap space. Teams seem to value their cap space and financial flexibility more than ever right now.
As a result of this, we can probably expect a bit of a domino effect with New York’s offseason moves. The team likely won’t re-sign Mathew Barzal or Ryan Pulock until a contract is moved and the same can probably be said about Andy Greene and Matt Martin. It’s probably ideal to clear the space first, then see what you have to work with.
We can expect that at least one of Johnny Boychuk, Cal Clutterbuck or Leo Komarov will be moved, it’s just a matter of when. Making this more difficult as well is the fact that both Boychuk and Komarov have modified no-trade clauses. But until a deal is made involving one of them, we likely won’t see much money being committed by the Islanders.
So for now, it’s a waiting game.
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Here's today's poll question (results and discussion will be posted in a future article):
Which contract do you think is most likely to be moved?