What Can Be Done?
In order to keep teams at bay, the Islanders have to show there isn’t a vulnerability to exploit. Ideally, they do that by re-signing Barzal before he can start talking to other teams before 5 PM on June 30.
If they can’t get that done they have to show they have enough cap space to re-sign Barzal. Essentially showing any team bold enough to sign an offer sheet with Barzal that they’ll easily match it.
Going into 2020-21, the Islanders will have $12.619 million in cap space. Along with Barzal, the Isles still have to sign Ryan Pulock and Devon Toews. They’ll also have to sign Ilya Sorokin to a single-year ELC that should carry a $925,000 cap hit.
Assume both defensemen combine for a $9 million cap hit and with Sorokin’s ELC, that means the Isles have to make at least $6.306 million of space.
Finding a new home for Johnny Boychuk would free up $6 million on the cap. That’s still not enough cap space. Moving Leddy and or Andrew Ladd would have to be the next way to free up enough cap space.
Trading Boychuk (before July 1 when his signing bonus is paid) and one of the aforementioned two would clear up $24.119 million in cap space for the Islanders. That’s plenty of room to sign Sorokin, Pulock, Toews, and leave $14.194 million for Barzal.
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Of course, for an offer sheet to work the player, in this case, Mathew Barzal, has to sign it. I’m not sure Barzal is at a point where he wants to leave. This team can only get better and Barzal will be at the pinnacle of that movement. He’s in the largest sporting market in North America with all eyes on him. I doubt he signs one.