I think the New York Islanders bring back Calvin de Haan. He’s a good top four defender and fits in well with this team. He’s exactly what they’ll be looking for in free agency anyways. I think they can sign de Haan to a $4.5 million deal.
That sounds expensive, but that’s about the going rate in the NHL for a 30 point defenseman. Hampus Lindholm, Matt Niskanen, Olli Maatta and Ryan McDonagh are 29-30 point players in 2017-18 and all made between $4.083 to $5.75 million on the cap.
Ryan Pulock is going to need a big upgrade. Unless the Islanders can somehow convince him to take a bridge deal. Otherwise, the Islanders are looking at a $3 to $4 million deal for multiple years from the rookie blueliner.
Cut the difference and say a $3.5 million deal for four years. Or until he turns 27 and can hit free agency.
The Islanders also need to sign up Devon Toews to a deal. Unfortunately for Toews, a season-ending injury prevented him from showing the team what he could do at the NHL level. A two-year $3 million ($1.5 million AAV) deal makes sense for him to play in the NHL this season.
In this scenario, the Islanders have seven defensemen in the lineup. Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk are still the top two. Ryan Pulock and Calvin de Haan are the second pair, while the trio of Devon Toews, Adam Pelech, and Scott Mayfield play it out for the third pairing.
Space Remaining: $14.267 million – $4.5 (UFA) – $5 (RFA) = $4.767 million