The New York Islanders need to boost their scoring this year, and they’ve got the money to do it. With an unremarkable group of free agents coming to market most Islanders fans are expecting a big trade. However, there is a high-scoring free agent who’s gone under many fan’s radars; one who carries a potential cap hit low enough that we could sign him in addition to another top level forward.
The New York Islanders hope to add scoring this offseason, possibly through further trading. Some fans have warned against the free-agency; but even though there are many enticing trade possibilities, I think NY should recheck the free agency list.
The Isles should consider opening negotiations with RW Justin Williams and his agent Thane Campbell; apparently the Capitals won’t be re-signing the veteran right wing despite his strong season. The 6-1,188 lb Williams is a proven scorer who has averaged over 20 goals a season for the last 4 years, including this snipe to beat the Rangers in the finals a couple of years ago…
Williams brings more than just scoring to the table. The recently naturalized (6-9-17) vet plays two-way hockey and has loads of playoff experience, including three Stanley Cup titles. He delivers a much more physical game than his size would lead you to expect. Also, he’s equipped with a right-handed shot, which the Isle’s depth chart could use more of.
While he is already 35 years old Williams shows signs that he still has more fuel in the tank. In fact, his goal production has increased two seasons in a row.
Making His Salary Fit the Islanders
For the last two years Williams has had a $3.25 million annual cap hit. Reaching the not quite as young age of 35 for this contract negotiation, it’s reasonable to think he might take a slight dip in salary despite his padded stats from playing with the Capitals.
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I expect him to receive a deal somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.5 to $3 million a year; which I consider a good price on a good player. I’m hoping a 3 year, $8 million offer would get the job done, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he managed $9 million.
The Islanders would have just under or about $7 million left on the cap to sign de Haan and another forward if Williams were to sign in that price range. I’d expect him to get slotted in on the second or third line.
The latest appraisals estimate de Haan’s next contract to be somewhere around $4 million per year. While I’m hoping we can get it down, it might end up being a little higher. Personally I don’t think de Haan is worth as much as Hamonic, who came with a super friendly $3.86 million cap-hit; so hopefully, de Haan doesn’t end up costing more than that.
If de Haan re-signs for $4 million a year, and Williams for $3 million, (I hope both will be less), the Islanders will still have $2.40 million to work with. While that isn’t enough money to sign a big name player out of free agency, it will be enough if the Islanders lose a player with a high salary via trade.
I’d be looking to move either Brock Nelson or Josh Bailey in a package with picks and possibly a prospect for just one more upper echelon forward. Maybe a right-handed, 2nd line center…or another talented big man like Lee. Who knows, maybe Michael Dal Colle will beef up, step up and start making an impact in the stats columns this year.
Either which way Justin Williams would make a sound addition to the roster, or barring that an easy trade asset.