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Editorials

New York Islanders Should Be Done With UFA Drama

Lou Lamoriello of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Lou Lamoriello of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The New York Islanders and their fans have dealt with a lot of stress and angst the last couple of off-seasons. Well, the Isles should be rid of free agency drama over the next couple of years.

Late June – July 1st has been a nail-biting time for the New York Islanders and their fan base. A lot of disappointment and worry along the way. Those days should be behind the blue and orange.

Own UFA’s

It’s well documented on how the Isles fell short regarding John Tavares as well as Artemi Panarin the past two off-season’s. Both situations were bitter pills for the Islanders faithful.

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The Islanders entered this off-season with four key unrestricted free agents. Needless to say, the fan base was concerned.

Lou Lamoriello was able to re-sign Brock Nelson, Jordan Eberle, and the captain Anders Lee. Robin Lehner did move on but the Isles were able to sign Semyon Varlamov.

The good news is over the next couple of seasons, the Isles do not have that many UFA’s. Currently, only Thomas Greiss, Matt Martin, and Tom Kuhnhackl are slated to become UFA’s at the end of next season. As of now only Casey Cizikas and Tanner Fritz will be UFA’s the following off-season.

If the Isles want their pending UFA’s back a deal will get done. The only one that could be tricky is Griess whose return is probably dependent on whether or not Ilya Sorokin comes over to Long Island next summer.

Unless the Isles acquire a player who becomes a UFA in the near future the blue and orange shouldn’t have any free agent drama in terms of unrestricted players.

RFA’s

If the Isles were going to have any free agent drama it will come from their restricted players. After next season Mathew Barzal, Ryan Pulock, and Devon Toews are RFA’s.

The Isles would have four years of control regarding Barzal and that’s after next season. Lamoriello will be in a good position to get a long-term deal with the 22-year-old center.

The bigger potential issue would be with Pulock and Toews. NHL players can become an unrestricted free agent at 27 (also after seven years of service).

Come July 1, 2020, Toews will be 26 and Pulock will be 25 (four months shy of his 26th birthday). Lamoriello will need to sign both blueliners to long-term deals next summer.

Next. Isles Depth on D Must lead to a Trade

The good news is the Isles will lack any UFA drama over the next couple of years. However, they do have to lock up some of their young core next summer.

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