John Tavares and his massive eight-year extension is going to take up a large portion of that cap space. But even if he signs a deal between $10.5 and $11.5 million with the Islanders they still have a minimum of $16.75 million in cap space.
Tavares will speak with other teams in his free agent tour at the end of June. They will offer him a ridiculous amount of money. To keep him the Islanders are going to have to match it.
It’s not that I believe Tavares is money hungry. But I firmly believe he wants to be compensated fairly. He’s already taken a sweetheart deal with the Isles. He’s going to be paid his fair share, as he should.
Ross Johnston can be signed to a two-year $2 million deal. That would give him a raise of $334,000 per year. The physical element that Ross Johnston brings to the Islanders and specifically to that fourth line is worth the increase.
In this exercise, I’m assuming the Islanders are going to keep Brock Nelson. He’s absolutely the first player that gets traded out to acquire a big name defender or goaltender. But because I’m not dealing with trades he stays for now.
With a down year, Brock Nelson shouldn’t be paid more than $3.75 million a season. That’s a $1.5 million raise for Nelson. I’m not saying he deserves it, but past performances will mean he gets one.
Alan Quine also stays with the team. He gets a marginal increase to his $612,500 cap hit from last season. His qualifying offer has to be $715,000. That would be the maximum the Isles give him
The lineup remains virtually unchanged. Out are Chris Wagner and Shane Prince. In their wake come Kieffer Bellows and Tanner Fritz. Don’t worry Fritz is a bit player and here to sit on the scratch pad 99% of the time. But that’s going to bring in another $27,000 in cap hits.
Space Remaining: $31.259 million – $11.5 (UFA) – $5.465 (RFA) – 0.027= $14.267 million