New York Islanders NHL Trade Rumor Weekly Wire May 14th
Isles Desire: 5/5
The Athletic’s Allan Mitchell points out that the Tampa Bay Lightning are facing a cap crunch. They have little room on the cap right now ($1.456 million in space) and still have to sign restricted free agent Brayden Point.
Point has played three seasons in the NHL and scored 198 points, with 92 of them coming this season. He’s worth a big-time upgrade. He’s going to get a big payday, it may not be Kucherov money ($9.5 million AAV), but it could be close to what Steven Stamkos is getting ($8.5 million AAV).
As Mitchell points out, the Lightning might have to make some space and Tyler Johnson might “shake loose”.
Now, to be fair, there are two issues with this that I should address up front. First, Johnson has a full no-trade clause on his recently signed seven-year $35 million deal ($5 million AAV). And who says he waves that to ease a trade from Tampa to the Islanders?
The second issue is the notion that the Tampa Bay Lightning are in a cap crunch. While it’s true they don’t have much space. Sure, they only have $1.456 million in cap space now. But (1) the cap is going up by a few million and (2) all of Anton Stralman, Braydon Coburn, and Dan Girardi are pending UFAs.
That’s $11.2 million coming off the books, potentially. Maybe they keep one of the three, but they don’t keep them all. Even if they did it won’t be on an upgraded deal. They’ll have some money for Point.
With that being said, lets humor the rumor. If Tyler Johnson can be had, what would the Islanders have to give up? This is a player that can play anywhere up front and can return up to 72 points with a good AAV if he hits that high production.
I struggled with this trade scenario. While the Islanders get a good player who shoots from the right, the Lightning get $3.55 million in cap space. They also get a big and tough defender to fill in for one of the departing free agents and they get a good prospect from the Islanders system.
But is that enough? Or is it too much for a player that hasn’t exceed 50 points in the last four seasons? It’s definitely a good place to start for both teams.