The New York Islanders have a number of pending free agents ready for a payday this summer. How they’re going to pay them all under the salary cap was a big question mark. But with record NHL revenues they might just be OK.
This summer the New York Islanders have eight unrestricted free agents and five restricted free agents to potentially sign on the active roster. None more important that captain John Tavares. But with Tavares commanding no less than $10 million, how were the Isles going to fit the others under the cap?
If Josh Bailey continues his current form you have to believe that he’s in for a big payday come July. If not before.
Sure they’ll get some relief from the expiring deals of Nikolai Kulemin ($4.1875 million), Jaroslav Halak ($4.5 million) and Jason Chimera ($2.25 million). All of which no one expects to return next season. That’s $10.9375 million. Add the $1.986 million the Isles have in cap space now and that’s a total of $12.9235 million.
John Tavares’ extension is going to eat up at least a third of that. Leaving $8.4235 million to spend on at least Josh Bailey, Brock Nelson, Calvin de Haan, and Thomas Hickey. I didn’t even include Devon Toews, who’s deal is up at the end of the season.
The obvious assumption here is that the New York Islanders want to keep all these players. Looking at last season’s expansion draft, and how much Garth gave up to keep this roster together, you’d have to say that assumption is a safe one to make.
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If the Isles want to keep the team together, there might not be enough room with the current cap situation. It might if all the players take team friendly deals. But they have no incentive, nor should they, to do so.
Thankfully, it seems that the NHL might have made significant revenues this year. And as we all know, revenues drive the salary cap. As revenues go up, so does the amount that teams get to spend.
According to league commissioner Gary Bettman, the league is looking at somewhere between $4.5 billion to $5 billion in revenues this year. Which means…well I’ll just let The Athletics James Mirtle tell you what that might mean:
That could push the salary cap upwards of $10 million. Could. Not will. But if that’s the case then the Islanders will have no worries paying the players they want to keep.
Players like John Tavares, who with the McDavid extension and the flood of money potentially coming into the league, might just get a bigger payday then we initially thought.