Sign John Carlson: Seven Years $56 million ($8 million AAV)
The Islanders desperately need help on the defensive end and John Carlson is just that, an upgrade on the blue line. He’s a number one defenseman, something the Islanders definitely need but normally wouldn’t be able to afford if Tavares is earning $11 million or more each of the next eight-years.
John Carlson would be the Islanders big free agent splash, as he’s the best defenseman on the table this offseason.
2017-2018 was a career year for Carlson. He had 68 points (15 goals, 53 assists). Since the lockout year, Carlson never had less than 37 points in a season and has averaged 23 minutes of ice time over the course of his career.
That’d be almost a minute more than Leddy has averaged during his four years with the Islanders.
He’s going to be costly and signing a 28-year old to a seven-year deal has some risk at the back end of that contract but it’s a position of need and the Islanders have the money if Tavares does decide to leave.