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 Islanders
NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 24: (l-r) Jordan Eberle /

New York Islanders – 2018 Free Agency – Defensemen

The New York Islanders will be losing Calvin de Haan and Thomas Hickey to unrestricted free agency at the end of this season. The situation concerning Ryan Pulock, who will be a restricted free agent, also needs to be addressed.  With the $12.7 million the Islanders have left after addressing their front line needs, it becomes time to turn their attention to the blue line.

Because of the severity of his season-ending injury, the only way the Islanders should bring back de Haan next year is on a low-risk, high-reward deal with incentives. Unless it keeps his salary in the $3.5 million range, there are just too many upgrades to be had for similar money.

If the Islanders can bring back Thomas Hickey for close to the $2.2 million he makes now, in my opinion, it would be worth it. If he is looking for more than a modest increase, it may be time to part ways. Let us assume that de Haan and Hickey do not return and then take a look at what’s available in the defenseman market.

Player                   2017-18 Salary Cap Hit

Mike Green                    $6 million

Jack Johnson                 $4.38 million

Erik Gudbranson             $3.5 million

Ian Cole                           $2.1 million

Luke Schenn                  $1.25 million

Deryk Engelland           $1 million

What to do, what to do?

With a hypothetical $12.7 million to spend, the New York Islanders need to bring Pulock back into the fold on a deal similar to the one signed by Scott Mayfield today and sign Erik Gudbranson to a long-term deal for around $4.5 million per year. I’d also like to see the Islanders sign Luke Schenn to a deal for somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.5 million per year.

Plugging both of these players into a defensive unit that already includes Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk would give the Islanders one of the more formidable top-four defense pairings in the NHL.

New York Islanders Remaining Approximate 2018-19 Cap Space – $12.7 million

Re-sign Ryan Pulock – $1 million per season

Sign Erik Gudbranson – $4.5 million per season

Sign Luke Schenn – $2.5 million per season

New York Islanders Remaining Cap Space – $4.7 million

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