Islanders: Salary cap increase reduced pressure on Isles

Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daily indicated that the cap could be going up nearly $6.7 million in 2020-21, much to the relief of the New York Islanders impending cap crunch.

By trading for and then signing Jean-Gabriel Pageau to a six-year deal with a $5 million AAV, the New York Islanders cap hit jumped to $78.223 million on the season. That left them with $3.276 million in cap space.

That’s not a huge issue right now. The issue is next season when the Islanders still have to sign RFA’s Mathew Barzal, Ryan Pulock, and Devon Toews. It was already going to be difficult to get all three signed without Pageau’s deal, adding the third line centers contract to the mix further complicated the algebra Lou Lamoriello was going to need to execute to make it all work.

The Islanders have $70.305 million committed to the cap for the 2020-21 season. With an $84 million cap that left the Isles with only $13.694 million in cap space to work with. Today, NHL Deputy Commissioner

Bill Daily announced that the cap could go up to $88.2 million.

Some Relief

Of course, these figures still need to be negotiated with the NHLPA before they’re confirmed. But if the number stays at $88.2 million that could be a big relief for the Islanders impending cap crunch.

That $13.694 million of cap space for the 2020-21 season, just wasn’t going to be enough for the Isles to sign Barzal, Pulock, and Toews.

Figure that Barzal is likely to command around $9 million a season, Pulock somewhere around $5 million, and Toews about $4 million, the Isles are looking at $18 million for the three. So you can see how Lamoriello was going to need to be creative to make it all work.

With an $88.2 million cap, the Isles would have $17.894 million in cap space, narrowing the gap between what their RFA’s will command and what they have available to pay them. It also lessens the pressure to make moves they’ll need to make in order to have it all work out.

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With a jump to $88.2 million, the Isles might not have to make complicated and likely costly moves like trading Johnny Boychuk or Andrew Ladd just to make cap space. It’s not that they shouldn’t make these moves, they just won’t be forced to make them in an $88.2 million cap world.