New York Islanders – 2018 Free Agency – Forwards
The New York Islanders will have to make decisions on whether to bring back forwards John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Jason Chimera, and Nikolai Kulemin. Assuming the Isles re-sign JT and Bailey and choose not to retain the services of Chimera or Kulemin, that still leaves two spots to fill as well as a number of other possible upgrades to be made.
Below, I’ve given some of the Islanders possible options listed from highest 2017-18 salary to lowest. A full list of unrestricted free agents can be found here, via Spotrac.com
Player 2017-18 Salary Cap Hit
Evander Kane $5.5 million
James van Riemsdyk $4.25 million
Mark Stone $3.5 million
J.T. Brown $1.25 million
Lance Bouma $1 million
Nail Yakupov $875,000
Adding any of the top three guys on this list would be a home run for the Islanders. There’s only one question that needs answering. Will they have the money to make a run at a top-six forward and sign another one for the back-end?
Let’s make a deal
Let’s take a look the situation. If the Isles can re-sign John Tavares at around $11 million per year and Josh Bailey for, let’s say, $5 million, that leaves limited resources to fill out the empty forward spots and to address other needs.
That being the case, I’d like to see the Islanders grab Nail Yakupov and Mark Stone to fill the roster voids left by Chimera and Kulemin. This would give the Isles quality pieces to fit into their third and fourth lines, as well as the freedom to bring up prospects without needing to throw them directly into a trial-by-fire environment.
By signing Yakupov and Stone, the New York Islanders would be adding decent players while leaving enough money in the coffers to fill out the rest of their roster.
New York Islanders Approximate 2018-19 Cap Space – $34.2 million
Re-sign John Tavares at $11 million per season
Re-sign Josh Bailey at $5 million per season
Sign Nail Yakupov at $1.5 million per season
Sign Mark Stone at $4 million per season
Remaining Islanders Approx. 2018-19 Cap Space – $12.7 million