The New York Islanders are looking to add a big piece to their roster, but with $1.3 million left on the cap they might not be able to. Don’t worry. Nikolai Kulemin to the rescue.
We forget that the New York Islanders have more than just Josh Bailey, Casey Cizikas and Andrew Ladd out with injury amongst their forward core. Nikolai Kulemin has been out for months now. And his $4.1875 million salary could be used to sign a player with a big contract.
At the time of writing the New York Islanders are a point out of a playoff spot. With 46 games played the Isles sit with 48 points. Tied with the Carolina Hurricanes and Philadelphia Flyers at 48 points in the standings.
The Islanders need to stop bleeding goals. They could acquire a goalie, but who’s selling a starting goalie? (No one). They could acquire a top-four defenseman, but with $1.3 million left on the cap they don’t have room. Unless they give up a roster player. Something they likely don’t want to do.
That’s where Long-term injury reserve and Nikolai Kulemin come into play.
Don’t Forget About Kulemin
It’s easy to forget about Kulemin. He’s been out injured for most of the NHL season. Out of sight, out of mind. But even though his Islanders career might be sadly over, Kulemin can still have a part to play in their success. The Islanders can use his contract to pull in a big piece leading up to the trade deadline.
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To do so the New York Islanders need to place Kulemin on Long-Term Injury Reserve (LTIR). It’s a designation reserved for players that will essentially be out long-term. (Anything more than ten games counts.) Missing already 32, Kulemin can count. And by doing so the Isles can get some sweet sweet cap relief.
Great, but how does it work? How can the Isles get cap relief? And how much do they get?
It’s honestly not that easy. First, you need to calculate the Accruable Cap Space Limit (ACSL). The ACSL is the cap ceiling minutes whatever cap space is left for the Isles at the moment the player is sent to LTIR. Today that would be $75 million – $1.367 million for an ACLS of $73.633 million.
Now, from the $73.633 ACLS the Islanders can spend up to $4.1875, the average that Nikolai Kulemin makes on the cap. They don’t get to spend $4.1875 above the $75 million ceiling.
That’s plenty of room to acquire that top-four defenseman and only give up some picks and prospects.
We all know that Nikolai Kulemin’s time with the New York Islanders is up. So why not try to create some value with his deal?