Editorials

New York Islanders: An Early Look Into 2018 Free Agency Options

By Tim Ryder
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 07: The New York Islanders celebrate their 6-3 win against the Buffalo Sabres at Barclays Center on October 7, 2017 in the Brooklyn Borough of New York City. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 07: The New York Islanders celebrate their 6-3 win against the Buffalo Sabres at Barclays Center on October 7, 2017 in the Brooklyn Borough of New York City. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 07: The New York Islanders celebrate their 6-3 win against the Buffalo Sabres at Barclays Center on October 7, 2017 in the Brooklyn Borough of New York City. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

Let’s assume for a second that the New York Islanders don’t make any major moves before the end of the 2017-2018 season. No trades, no significant waiver wire pickups, nothing. That scenario would give Garth Snow a blank canvas to paint his 2018 free agency masterpiece upon.

As we creep closer to the 2017-18 NHL trade deadline, there has been mounting demand for New York Islanders GM Garth Snow to make a move (or multiple moves) to shore up deficiencies in both a depleted defensive unit and an underperforming goaltending combo.

The now deafening roar of the Isles fanbase has surely reached Snow’s office by now. There is a good possibility that a deal will indeed happen before the February 26th deadline. But say, hypothetically, the Islanders do nothing and simply call up some of the NHL-ready prospects they have in Bridgeport. What then?

Cap Space

As per Spotrac.com, the New York Islanders are expected, on the low end, to have $34.2 million in available salary cap space once the 2017-18 season concludes. Obviously, there are a few dollars already earmarked to re-sign some current Islanders.

The Islanders have ten players set to become unrestricted free agents in 2018.  That list includes Isles mainstays like John Tavares and Josh Bailey, Calvin de Haan and Thomas Hickey. There’s also guys like Nikolai Kulemin and Stephen Gionta who have been, for the most part, out of sight and out of mind for most Isles fans.

Any way you slice it, the New York Islanders have a laundry list of decisions to make once the 2018 NHL offseason arrives. Follow along as we break down the Isles free agency forecasts at forward, defense, and goaltending. I’ll be presenting options from the high-end playmakers down to the low-cost grinders for each position group.

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