The Arizona Coyotes announced last week that third-year pro Clayton Keller signed a deal for eight-years with an average annual value of $7.15 million. What does that mean for Mat Barzal?
With Keller’s contract setting the price for the 2020 restricted free agent (RFA) market, it could mean a lot.
Keller, who was Calder finalist for the league’s top rookie in 2018, the year in which Mat Barzal won, had a down year last year with 47 points in 82 games. In Keller’s rookie season, he posted 65 points in 82 games.
Keller has averaged 17.5 points less than Mat Barzal in their two seasons of play.
Barzal is a significantly better player than Keller in the last two seasons. With Keller getting 7.15 million on average, Barzal should get in the $8-$9 million range.
In an interview with Tom Gulitti, Barzal stated that he’s not rushing for a contract and that the perfect deal for both sides will come eventually.
“At the end, if the term and money is there and it’s right for both sides, then something will get done midseason or whenever,” Barzal said. “But I’m not in a rush at all.”
With the current RFA holdouts, Barzal has no worry that he will get a deal done with Islanders. Barzal ranks within the top RFA’s in terms of “Cost Per Point” according to CapFriendly.
So with training camps across the league starting next week, and with many RFA’s still unsigned, it will be interesting to see how Barzal’s contract will be influenced by RFA’s like Brock Boeser and Kyle Connor.
Barzal could also be interested in taking a team-friendly contract with less term so that the Islanders could pursue a goal-scoring winger.
“I’m not really looking at dollars,” Barzal said. “I’ve never played for dollars or anything. After playing in the playoffs last year, I’m hungry to get back to there and it will all take care of itself.”
By taking a team-friendly contract, the Islanders could sign another player that could help the Islanders score goals.
With the Islanders having to sign Devon Toews, and Ryan Pulock with Mat Barzal next season, the Islanders will have a tricky situation securing their young core.