New York Islanders fans across the ultra reliable and truthful internet, have been very dire with pronouncements that cap space hell will keep the Islanders in mediocrity for years.
That does not have to be the case. I can’t prove the New York Islanders will be better next year. But I can prove that there is a decent way to slash payroll enough to make it possible.
First, let’s assume that the salary cap grows modestly, about in line with projections, but behind the historic norms. Let’s add 2 million for next year, getting the cap to 75 million. That will give the Isles, according to Capfriendly.com, about $6 million is space. Now let’s start cutting.
I believe there is a team that will take a fast skating, hard-nosed veteran, salt of the earth guy on a 15 goal pace with a 2.5 mil contract. Oh, they’re not giving up much, but someone will take Jason Chimera. Let’s arbitrarily say Edmonton wants a vet up front and will send an anonymous body back – I chose Kyle Platzer and 7th round pick in 2018.
The Cuts Keep Coming
If I were the New York Islanders I would also immediately trade Dennis Seidenberg for a 4th round pick, if possible. While it doesn’t lower next year’s cap number, it does lower the possibility that he will return. That is a win.
That brings the Isles to the off season. For all the whining that Jaro Halak, “can’t be traded because he has two years left”, he won’t if this trade is made post-season. Again, he won’t have much value. but another sixth rounder and a minor league body?
Next, buy-out Kulemin. Which stays on the cap as a $687 thousand cap in 17-18, and a $1.7 million hit in 18-19. Oh well. That’s the way the Kuley crumbled.
And although you don’t actually get LTIR relief unless you need it, Grabovski’s $5 million is available to spend should you start filling up these spots with high-cost options.
Next, the Isles are gonna lose someone to expansion. Might be Thomas Hickey at $2.2 million, might be Brock Nelson or Ryan Strome at $2.5 million, might be Anders Lee at $3.75 million. Who knows, maybe Casey Cizikas at $3.5 million? et’s estimate that at 2.5 million. The Isles will lose someone. Top of head, let’s say it’s Calvin de Haan.
That’s about $23 million dollars of usable cap space. Of course, only 17 players. So let’s start filling up spots as logically as we can, in house.
Griess and Berube… for a total of 5 million?
Bring up Pulock and resign Pelech for $1.5 million. And let Barzal play.
Now you’ve got a full 22 man roster and $15 million in cap space.
Some examples of what 15 million dollars in space means;
Here is a link to how it worked out on Capfriendly.com: hhttps://www.capfriendly.com/armchair-gm/team/245823
These are not predictions, or even suggestions. Merely an acknowledgment that if the Islanders new GM Bill Guerin, and new President Chris Botta really want to make room, there are many many ways to accomplish it.