Islanders Free Agency

New York Islanders: The Pursuit Of Steven Stamkos

By Matt O'Leary
Mar 25, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA;Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) skates with the puck as New York Islanders center Frans Nielsen (51) defends during the second period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 25, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA;Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) skates with the puck as New York Islanders center Frans Nielsen (51) defends during the second period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Steven Stamkos is a star set to hit the open market. Here’s how the Islanders can persuade Stamkos to Brooklyn.

Since John Tavares was drafted, the New York Islanders have been searching for a top winger to play alongside him. With the new ownership and Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen likely coming off the books there will be more room to sign a significant piece.

One of the most coveted free agents this season is Steven Stamkos . When considering the Islanders past Stamkos may seem as a stretch, and it would be a stretch, but there is a possibility of this happening.

Recently Elliotte Friedman said:

"“I’ll tell you this. I’m curious to see if the Islanders – it doesn’t look like they’re signing Okposo. There hasn’t been a lot of talk with Nielsen. I wonder if they would ever be a Stamkos team. Like they would look at themselves and say, ‘New ownership. Lots of cap room. Him and Tavares are tight.’“I’m curious to see if there’s any chance that they’re a team that ends up being in the bidding for this.”"

A Tavares and Stamkos line has me salivating just thinking of it. Tavares has turned into a superstar and putting a previous 60 goal scorer next to him can be a deadly combination.

Although people point to the Penguins with their 1A and 1B lines as opposed to a real first and second line they could, in theory, split up Tavares and Stamkos in order to spread out the production. Although this certainly could be an option, I would prefer the two on the same line.

Steven Stamkos and the Salary Cap

The Islanders would have to make room on the cap, it’s expected that Stamkos will demand somewhere around a $10 million a year. I think Okposo is gone anyway so you don’t have to worry about his money and then I think we will also be saying goodbye to Frans Nielsen.

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That means the Islanders would possibly rely on Mathew Barzal and Michael Dal Colle to come up and play at the NHL level.

In an ideal world, you may prefer to get Mikhail Grabovski off the books to help, but I don’t know if that would be a realistic possibility. Maybe, GM Garth Snow decides to go forward with Thomas Greiss as the starter and decides to move Jaroslav Halak.

I would be opposed to this route but you certainly can’t count this out as a possibility to either make room for Stamkos or improve the team in other areas.

Garth Snow has been known for making trades in order to improve the team, it may be time for him to make that big free agency splash to make this Islanders team a real contender.

Next: Player Grade: Travis Hamonic

The biggest selling point for that Islanders is that we aren’t a rebuilding team. They just made the playoffs in back to back years. If he wanted to go to a Toronto or Buffalo he would be going into a rebuilding project. It may be appealing for him to come to a team that’s ready to win and a team in a major market like New York.

If Stamkos wanted to go to a Toronto or Buffalo he would be going into a rebuilding project, nowhere near ready to compete. New York has the appeal of both a major market and a team that could be poised to contend with him on the roster.

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