New York Islanders: 3 Things That Need to Happen in August
Movement in the RFA Market
All of the big restricted free agents still haven’t signed new deals. Players like Mitch Marner, Mikko Rantanen, Brayden Point, or Kyle Connor are still out there without a deal and that’s put a damper on movement around the league.
We saw a number of teams add during free agency and even other teams move assets in order to make room for some of these pending RFAs. But until these players sign, there’s no way of knowing what assets can be picked off by other clubs.
Take the Winnipeg Jets for example. They have both Kyle Connor (66 points) and Patrik Laine (50 points) to re-sign to new deals. The Winnipeg Jets have roughly $17.6 million to tie both of them up.
That should be enough. But, even with both Connor and Laine signed they only have ten forwards under contract. They still have to add two more bodies to the roster. If cap space is fleeting the Jets might have to move Nikolaj Ehlers and his $6 million cap hit.
But until both (or either) sign there’s no incentive for Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff to make space. Until he knows how much space either will take up, there’s no reason to start making calls.
These RFAs have to start getting deals so that the trade market can open up. I’m still not sure what Lou Lamoriello’s plan is to improve the roster, but I imagine Lou’s taking the time he’s got to see how the market shifts once those RFAs sign on the dotted line.