Islanders: Possible compliance buyout UFAs to target
If compliance buyouts are allowed, what UFA player should the New York Islanders target for the 2020-21 NHL season?
Who knows when, or if, the 2019-20 season will return from its current hiatus. If the season does return, what will be the financial impact of the break due to COVID-19? Will the salary cap stay flat for 2020-21? For teams like the New York Islanders, that could be a huge problem.
The Islanders already have $71.38 million committed to players for the 2020-21 season. And that doesn’t include extensions to RFAs Mathew Barzal, Ryan Pulock, and Devon Toews. Making it all work, with a flat cap is going to be difficult.
That’s why the talk of compliance buyouts has grown recently. Teams could be given a “get-out-of-a-bad-contract-free” card. The Isles would obviously buy-out Andrew Ladd‘s contract that carries a $5.5 million cap hit through 2022-23.
The Isles won’t be the only team willing to use a compliance buyout to get a big deal off their books. Could the Isles use any of those players who would likely be bought out by their teams?
James Neal | Edmonton Oilers
Contract AAV: $5.75 million
Contract Expiry year: 2022-23
The Islanders still need scoring going into 2020-21. James Neal isn’t that 40 goal scorer from 2011-12, but he’s been a consistent 20 goal scorer since he joined the league in 2008-09.
His stint with Calgary as a depth bottom-six winger wasn’t successful. So bringing in Neal would be a risky option. But at the price he would likely command, it might be a risk worth taking to add a middle-six 20 goal scorer.
Kyle Okposo | Buffalo Sabres
Contract AAV: $6 million
Contract Expiry year: 2022-23
Kyle Okposo‘s time in Buffalo wasn’t successful, they’ll definitely want to get out from his $6 million AAV for the next three years.
Bringing in Kyle as a middle-six winger would be incredible. Like all of the names here, the cost to bring Okposo in won’t be huge, I imagine a deal between $1 and $2 million would be sufficient.
Not only would it be great to have Kyle Okposo back in the fold, but the Isles would get some much-needed depth on the right side.
Michael Grabner | Arizona Coyotes
Contract AAV: $3.35 million
Contract Expiry year: 2020-21
He can kill penalties. He can score. And he’s still got the speed. Here he is scoring two shorthanded goals in the same game from 2018-19.
Just like Kyle Okposo, this would be a return to where Michael Grabner had his best years in the NHL. His role would be basically the same as it was then. He’ll average 14-15 minutes a night and play in the bottom six. He’d join a core of strong power killers like Casey Cizikas and Jean-Gabriel Pageau.
Zach Parise | Minnesota Wild
Contract AAV: $7.538,461 million
Contract Expiry year: 2024-25
Lou tried to swap bad-contracts at the 2020 trade deadline with Minnesota. The Wild would get Ladd (and likely Kieffer Bellows plus a first) and the Islanders would get Zach Parise.
If Parise is bought out by the Wild you better believe that Lou Lamoriello would jump at the opportunity to sign the player he drafted 17th overall in 2003.