New York Islanders Tom Kuhnhackl’s 2019-2020 Role
The New York Islanders re-signed Tom Kuhnhackl to a one-year deal at $850,000. A good value deal for a depth player.
Last year after the dust settled with John Tavares, the New York Islanders added depth players to their team including Tom Kuhnhackl. Coming off two recent Stanley Cup victories with the Pittsburgh Penguins he was a very cheap depth option which is completely justifiable.
He signed a one-year deal at $700,000 for the 2018-2019 season, and now the Islanders doubled down on him bringing him back for one-year $850,000. An affordable rate for a player like Kuhnhackl.
Even though they signed Tanner Fritz, for a nearly identical contract ($700,000 cap hit), it’s not all too surprising that the Islanders brought him back. Kuhnhackl played in just 36 games putting up nine points (4 goals, 5 assists).
He played on the third line mostly but come the end of the year and into the playoffs Kuhnhackl was playing on the second line. In Game 1 against Pittsburgh, he got nearly 18 minutes of ice time, that shows how much trust Barry Trotz had in his game.
Ideally, Kuhnhackl is a fourth line guy. Both he and Tanner Fritz would be fine fourth line options on most teams with a very reasonable cap number. With Cal Clutterbuck and Andrew Ladd being injury concerns heading into next year, Fritz and Kuhnhackl should be competing for playing time.
It all depends on how the next few days go but the Isles can’t be banking on Tom Kuhnhackl to be a part of their top-six, they just can’t. Yes, in small sample sizes he was mediocre to okay on the Islanders second line but the team has to realize that he is best suited as a fourth liner or 13th forward.
If the Islanders are using Tom Kuhnhackl as a fill-in fourth line player this is absolutely worth it and a completely fine deal. If he’s in the Isles top six on the other hand, then you have every right to worry and criticize Lou Lamoriello.