Despite being given a two-year contract, Tanner Fritz is not guaranteed a roster spot with the New York Islanders. There’s no reason to panic.
The New York Islanders made two signings yesterday. One was a prospect, Arnaud Durandeau while the other was Tanner Fritz. Fritz has spent parts of the past two years between the AHL and NHL with the Islanders.
The 27-year-old made his NHL debut in 2017-2018 with the Islanders. He played 34 games putting up seven points (3 goals, 4 assists). He got the nod after 38 points in 35 games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
This past year, he spent most of the year in the A. In 57 games he put up 37 points, a rather productive year for Tanner. He only played eight games with the big club, putting up one assist along the way.
The Islanders signing Fritz, who would’ve been a UFA, isn’t all that surprising. Lou Lamoriello gave him a two-year $1.4 million deal ($700,000 AAV). The first year of the deal is a one way deal while the second is a two way deal.
Meaning in year two if he’s in the NHL he’ll make $700,000 but if he’s in the minors his salary drops to $250,000. While some fans, myself included thought of this as a fine deal for someone who’s ceiling is a 13th forward, other panicked.
The panic ensued because they believed that Tanner Fritz was now guaranteed to not only be on the roster but to be a starter as well. As it stands the Islanders are without a third line center, is Fritz the guy that plugs in?
To that, I say absolutely not. There’s a chance that Tanner is the Islanders 13th forward, meaning he’d be a healthy scratch most nights and maybe play somewhere between 30-40 games. If that’s the case that’s completely fine.
Or, if the Islanders decide to bring back Tom Kuhnhackl as the 13th forward, Fritz can be sent to the AHL and provide veteran depth at the center position down there. Really, this is a win-win for the Islanders.
Just because Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz have favored veterans in the past doesn’t mean that Tanner Fritz is going to be getting significant playing time in the NHL next year. It’s June, can we save the panic for now, please.