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Islanders: NHL Salary Cap Expected To Stay At $81.5 Million For 2020-2021

Lou Lamoriello of the New York Islanders and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Lou Lamoriello of the New York Islanders and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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According to Andy Strickland, the NHL Salary Cap is expected to stay at $81.5 million for next year. Are buyouts coming for the New York Islanders?

With COVID-19, the NHL season has come to a complete halt. There is no guarantee that the sport returns, and we’re left wondering if we will see a conclusion to the 2019-2020 New York Islanders season.

One of the biggest question marks, aside from if and when the season will resume, is the impact this suspension has on the salary cap for 2020-2021. According to Andy Strickland, the cap is going to remain the same at $81.5 million for next year.

Per CapFriendly, the cap was expected to jump up to $84 million next year leaving the Islanders with $12.6 million in cap space. Now, with the cap remaining the same that leaves the Islanders with $10.1 million to work with.

This presents a major issue as the team has to come to agreements with RFA’s Mat Barzal, Devon Toews, and Ryan Pulock. Combining the AAV on those three, you can likely expect it to be somewhere between $18 million and $20 million.

Obviously, the Isles are going to have to get creative in order to get that to work. But, since the cap is expected to remain the same, amnesty buyouts could come into play. The last time a compliance buyout was implemented was in 2014 when the Islanders bought out Rick Dipietro.

They only used it for DiPietro at the time but you could use it for up to two players. In this case, using it for Andrew Ladd and Johnny Boychuk makes the most sense.

That would free up an additional $11.5 million in cap space, moving the Islanders up to $21.6 million to work with which makes life a lot easier, and they could still get creative with other trades if they want to add pieces outside of the three RFA’s.

Ladd has played 30 games over the last two years and has spent most of this year buried in the AHL. He’s the most obvious candidate for the buyout. While Boychuk has been a good Islander, his $6 million cap hit is rough at this point in his career and they could use Noah Dobson on a nightly basis if they decided to move on from Boychuk as well.

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While there has been no guarantee of implementing amnesty buyouts, it seems like the most logical step for the NHL to help their teams get cap compliant in these difficult times.

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