The dust has settled on the New York Islanders contract extension with center Brock Nelson. Not only does Brock get a nice raise, but he also gets trade protection too.
By re-signing Brock Nelson to a six-year deal, the New York Islanders locked up one of their four big-name free agents ahead of July 1.
As one of a few good centers available when free agency opens Nelson could have easily been tempted by the open market. He likely could have been paid more, and maybe for longer than what he got with the Islanders.
But the Islanders made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Aside from the AAV and term, Brock got trade protection across the length of the deal, and a bit of a signing bonus.
Looking at the Deal
As reported by Arthur Staple, the first two years of Brock Nelson’s deal has a full no-trade clause. That means Brock can veto any trade that he’s involved in. It also likely means he’ll need to be protected in the upcoming Seattle expansion draft.
In the following four years of the deal that trade protection is downgraded to a modified no-trade clause. At the moment it isn’t clear what that modification is exactly. Hopefully, it isn’t some type of Andrew Ladd type protection where he submits a list of 15 teams he can’t be traded to. It’s typical to see an eight-team no-trade list. That’s likely what Brock was able to negotiate.
What’s more interesting in this deal is the amount of signing bonus Brock is getting. In the entire deal, he’s only getting $2 million in signing bonuses. All in year one.
With a new CBA needing to be negotiated in 2020, a work stoppage seems inevitable. Three have already taken place with Gary Bettman at the helm of the NHL.
The way players are getting ready for any work stoppage is loading up their deals with signing bonuses as a way to continue being paid.
Look at deals former Islanders signed in free agency and how much of it is signing bonuses. Kyle Okposo’s deal with Buffalo is 59 percent signing bonus ($25 million of $42 million). John Tavares’ deal is 92 percent signing bonus ($70.89 million of $77 million).
It also means that Nelson’s deal isn’t buyout proof. In the event that he returns to the old Brock Nelson, or worse, the lack of signing bonus keeps the option of a buyout open. (Hopefully, that never needs to be considered.)
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The six-year $36 million deal the New York Islanders gave to Brock Nelson is good for both sides. Brock gets term and protection. The team gets to keep a good player at a good number, make him happy, and give themselves some flexibility in the event it doesn’t go as planned.