T.J. Oshie would be a nice fit with the New York Islanders but there’s only one problem, they won’t be able to afford to sign him.
Scrolling through twitter the name T.J. Oshie comes up a lot on the wishlist of New York Islanders fans. He will be one of if not the most coveted free agents in the 2017 class. Certainly he would be a great addition to the team based off his career numbers.
These fans are forgetting one huge issue when it comes to signing free agents. Cap space, or in the Islanders case the lack there of.
They only have one forward coming off the books and that’s Stephen Gionta. Which takes about $600 thousand off the books and that ain’t getting Oshie in a blue and orange uni.
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Based on the market that was established last year I think it’s fair to say that Oshie will get something in the vicinity of Kyle Okposo money. Last summer the Buffalo Sabres signed Okposo to a seven-year $42 million contract.
That’s an average annual salary of $6 million a year. In the year before hitting free agency Okposo had 22 goals and 42 assists for 64 points. This year during the regular season Oshie put up 33 goals with 23 assists for 56 points.
They put up similar numbers, they are similar in age and they play the same position. It’s a pretty safe bet that they will get similar contracts.
The Clearing Cap Space Argument
There’s an argument that the Isles can clear up cap space to make room for a free agent acquisition. What big contract are the Islanders clearing out to make up enough cap space?
The one that is often brought up is Jaroslav Halak. He has a $4.5 million cap hit next year for the Isles. Though how are you going to move him? Teams likely will be shied away from Halak because of his big cap hit and due to the fact that he was sent to Bridgeport last year.
He came on strong down the stretch but will it be enough to have a team bite on him? I doubt it.
The Real Solution
The only way this team can improve is via the trade. One of our guys wrote about trading Josh Bailey as his value is now at his highest after a 50 point season. He has a relatively good cap hit at just $3.3 million.
The most likely dream is acquiring Matt Duchene. Although the Islanders are going to have to give up a lot to get him. You can kiss Travis Hamonic a top prospect and this years first round pick goodbye if you want Duchene.
It won’t be easy but this seems like the most likely situation for the Islanders. They have a lot more cap room to work with in 2018 with Bailey, Mikhail Grabovski, Nikolai Kulemin, Thomas Hickey, Jason Chimera, Dennis Seidenberg, and Jaroslav Halak coming off the books.
You make a trade this year and hope to extend sign them to an extension after the season. This is of course with the assumption that they also extend John Tavares this offseason. That is the most important thing to take care of this summer.