Editorials

Breaking Down the Islanders Salary Cap Situation

 

The offseason for the Islanders will be interesting once the decision is made of what to do with the 2019-20 season. A lot of the team’s marquee players such as Ryan Pulock, Devon Toews and all-star Mat Barzal will be due for pay raises in the coming months. Also, Ilya Sorokin is all but a lock to come on over from Russia to take the ice in the NHL next season and Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s new deal will kick in. What will the Islanders salary cap look like moving forward?

Using the Islanders’ CapFriendly page as of May 30, 2020, this article will break down which contracts will be taken off the books and who would be due for a pay raise moving forward over the next few years.

2020 Offseason:

The Islanders main goal will be to sign the big 3 RFAs and Sorokin to an ELC. It will be a challenge, but this offseason several multi-million dollar contracts will come off the books in the Isles’ favor, including Thomas Greiss’ $3.33 million contract and Matt Martin’s $2.5 million, along with Derrick Brassard’s $1.2 million. As a result, there will be an extent of immediate relief when trying to sign the big three. Also deadline add Andy Greene’s $5 million cap hit will also be on the way out. In all, including Tom Kuhnhackl’s contract, there will be over $11 million coming off the books this year, but most of it will be used back up for the new deals.

2021 Offseason:

Not a lot of major names will be coming off the books in the next offseason. The only big name possibly on the move is Casey Cizikas, but certain RFAs will need to be paid, in particular Anthony Beauvillier and Adam Pelech. Not much can change by players the team would lose, but the cap would look different with Beauvillier and Pelech each earning raises, albeit not as major as Barzal or Pulock.

2022 Offseason:

2022 has major turnover throughout the lineup if the contracts stay with the Isles’ in their entirety. On defense, Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy would all be off the books, alongside Thomas Hickey. Also, at forward Cal Clutterbuck, Ross Johnston, and Leo Komarov would all be UFAs, but at least one of them may be brought out to open spots for the youth in the near future. The only real RFA in this class for now is Noah Dobson, but the money he would make in a deal is to be determined with his career being very young.

2023 Offseason:

Two very hefty contracts would be off the books in that offseason, as Semyon Varlamov and Andrew Ladd would all see their cap hits of $5 million and $5.5 million respectively be at their ends. Scott Mayfield’s deal with a $1.45 million cap hit would also end at that time. Much to the Islanders’ benefit, however, no one on the team as of now is bound to be a pending RFA at that time, so they would have extra room to bring back Mayfield and add free agents if they wanted to.

2024 Offseason:

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Another pair of key Islanders’ players would be off the cap at forward. Josh Bailey’s deal with $5 million and Jordan Eberle’s deal with $5.5 million will be done, but no other major deals to RFAs would be in place as of now. However, that could likely change depending on the contract lengths some of the impending RFAs of the next year or two get.

That caps off the entire roster of today over the next five years. A lot of the contracts signed by the old regime of Snow, Capuano and Weight will haunt for a while if trade partners or buyouts can’t be agreed upon.

However, it is possible that relief could be on the way as a result of the pandemic. It is possible that compliance buyouts could be in place for this offseason, similar to the 2012-13 lockout shortened season, and some of the bad deals may be on the way off the salary cap sooner than later.

While it is merely speculation, for now it seems the Isles will have work to do in the long run to shed the already deadweight or inevitably bad contracts before they can truly add new pieces.

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