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New York Islanders: Trading A First Round Pick For Cap Relief

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 13: Andrew Ladd #16 of the New York Islanders reacts in the second period against the Columbus Blue Jackets during their game at Barclays Center on February 13, 2018 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 13: Andrew Ladd #16 of the New York Islanders reacts in the second period against the Columbus Blue Jackets during their game at Barclays Center on February 13, 2018 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
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The New York Islanders should use a first round pick in order to clear some cap space. They’ve done it before why not do it again?

Just last year at the NHL Expansion Draft, Garth Snow made a very wise move. He traded a first-round pick to the Vegas Golden Knights for them to take on the Mikhail Grabovski contract, and to ensure the New York Islanders didn’t lose anyone important.

This trade helped the Islanders land, and have the room for, Jordan Eberle. Obviously, losing out on a first-round pick is something you don’t necessarily want to have to do but in some cases, it’s more beneficial for a team to use their pick for something other than drafting a player.

The Islanders should do the same exact thing this year. They have two picks in the first round this year and can use one of them in the same strategy that worked so well for them last year.

This year, the Islanders should deal with the Arizona Coyotes. Now, Arizona hates spending money. Yes, they just extended Oliver Ekman-Larsson but they’re a rebuilding team on a budget. Since the cap is expected to go up, so is the cap floor.

The Islanders can help them reach that cap floor while also gifting them with a high draft pick as compensation for the less than ideal contract.

Now I know what you’re going to say “But Andrew Ladd has a no-trade clause!” Yes, you’d be correct, Andrew Ladd does have a no-trade clause in his contract. One can waive a no-trade though, and Ladd would be wise to do so in this scenario.

Lou Lamoriello has come in and completely changed the feel of this organization in the past month or so. He’s a no-nonsense guy, so perhaps Lou speaks with Ladd bluntly and tells him that he’s going to send him to the AHL for his bad performance last year.

Sure, someone could claim him off waivers but who would with five more years at $5.5 million a year. Well, when you sweeten the pot with a pick for a rebuilding team you can absolutely get someone to take on the contract.

On Arizona, he could easily be playing in their top-six, with more opportunities to produce, than he would with the Islanders who in all likelihood would be praying he comes into his own on the third line.

With Ladd’s cap removed you can improve the team in other areas. Let’s say you use the extra $5.5 million from Ladd and the extra $3-$5 million from the cap increase in free agency and trades and come in with a lineup like this:

Forwards

LeeTavaresBailey

$3.75 million

$11 million

$5 million

BeauvillierBarzalEberle

$894,167

$863,333

$6 million

BellowsBozakHo-Sang

$925,000

$4.75 million

$863,333

GrabnerCizikas

Clutterbuck

$2.5 million

$3.25 million$3.5 million

Defense

Goalie

Approximate Total: $68,209,166

This leaves the Islanders with, at minimum, $10 million to fill out the rest of the roster with guys like Adam Pelech and Scott Mayfield, and of course it sets them up to be able to extend Anders Lee, Jordan Eberle, Mathew Barzal and Anthony Beauvillier.

The cap should continue to increase, but freeing themselves of the most burdensome contract should be a main priority at the draft this year. I think Lou Lamoriello has the smarts to pull this off and it’s absolutely worth losing a first round pick over. In this scenario, they also lose a first rounder, Brock Nelson and a prospect to land Justin Faulk via trade and both second rounders to Washington for Philip Grubauer.

Losing out on a top pick might be tough to swallow, but it also allows them to add in free agency. In my plan, they add Tyler Bozak, Ian Cole and Michael Grabner to help them at depth areas.

Next: Trotz on the market

Look at that projected lineup with cap space to work with. Now that’s a team that can compete in the Metropolitan Division, and take the next step towards winning a championship. Buckle up Islanders fans, #LouSZN is in full force this week.

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