On Wednesday, the New York Islanders re-signed defenseman Ryan Pulock to a two-year deal. Now, the Islanders are left with one key free agent to sign and it just so happens that he’s one of the most notable restricted free agents in the NHL.
Obviously, we’re talking about Mathew Barzal. The center has been a star for the team since making the jump to the NHL, scoring a total of 59 goals and 207 points in 234 career NHL games. With that production comes a price, however, and the Islanders will have to work out a deal with Barzal, using the little cap space that remains.
At the moment, the Islanders have roughly $3.9 million remaining for Barzal and one other player on their 23-man roster. That said, the Islanders could theoretically go with 22 players instead of 23, which could save some cap space. While Pulock’s lower AAV certainly helps the team, $3.9 million won’t be enough to get Barzal signed.
If the Islanders moved Cal Clutterbuck or Leo Komarov, they’d have somewhere between $6.9 million and $7.4 million left, depending on which player was moved. However, you would likely need to factor a replacement player into that, which would cost $700,000 (if it’s a league-minimum contract), to avoid the Islanders going down to a 21-man roster.
So this would leave New York with between $6.2 million and $6.7 million to get a deal done. If the Islanders are looking for a two-year deal with Barzal, that’s probably not enough money and even if it was, it means that there’d be no money left for Andy Greene and Matt Martin, who are rumoured to return, or any other addition to the roster.
It’ll be interesting to see what ends up happening here and what contracts the Islanders find themselves able to move. Regardless, re-signing Barzal is now the last major priority for New York’s offseason.
***NOTE: We've launched a HockeyBuzz Islanders Twitter account! For anyone interested, you can follow @HB_Islanders for updates on articles, Islanders news, etc.***
Here’s today’s poll question (results and discussion will be posted in a future article):