The contract situation going into 2018 NHL Free Agency is going to be a very interesting one for the New York Islanders. John Tavares is a free agent and some great defensemen are available, so the Islanders will have to try to find a way to free up enough cash to make some good signings. Of course, this will not be easy as the Islanders have a lot of salary locked up in some less than stellar contracts.
The two worst contracts are Cal Clutterbuck’s and Andrew Ladd’s. Both of these players underperformed all year for how much they are being paid. Clutterbuck is making 3.5 million dollars per year with 4 years left on his 5 year contract. While this contract is already very large for a fourth line player, it becomes terrible after the year that Clutterbuck had. He grossly underachieved this year on a line that has been its worst in years. Of course, this isn’t all Clutterbuck’s fault. The Islanders had one of the best fourth lines in the league just a couple years ago before Matt Martin was not re-signed. After that the chemistry has been nothing compared to what it was before and Clutterbuck’s numbers have suffered.
Another contract of significance is the one of Andrew Ladd. Ladd is currently on a 7 year 5.5 million dollar per year contract, with 5 years left after he signed before the start of the 2016-2017 season. This contract has been doomed from the start. While the Islanders escaped that offseason without overpaying Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen like their new teams did, they used all the money they saved on Andrew Ladd. While Ladd had scored 62 points two seasons before the Islanders signed him, he had a declining season the next year with 46 points while playing for the Winnipeg Jets and Chicago Blackhawks. Ladd brings a leadership mentality along with him, being the former captain of the Jets, which may have led to him getting one of the largest contracts on the team. He has combined to score 60 points with 35 goals over the past two seasons. To put that in contrast, Josh Bailey, who recently signed a 6 year 5 million dollar contract, less than Ladd’s 5.5 million per year, had 71 points just this year.
Both clutterbuck and Ladd have not played at all up to their pay grade and expect new general manager Lou Lamoriello to do something about them.