Islanders critical 2020-21 offseason dates calendar

Lou Lamoriello of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Lou Lamoriello of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Here are the important dates in the 2020-21 offseason calendar and what to expect from the New York Islanders on those dates.

With the New York Islanders 2019-20 season coming to an end, the attention immediately turns to the offseason and how to get ready for 2020-21.

Thanks to a COVID affected 2019-20 season, things are a bit out of order when it comes to the offseason. It’s the middle of September and the draft hasn’t taken place nor have we had the frenzy that is the opening of the UFA market.

As we turn our attention to the offseason, here are some critical dates to remember and what we can expect from the Islanders on those dates.

Critical Dates

Buy-Out Period Begins: September 25 (Ends on October 8 at 5 PM)

I don’t suspect the Islanders will be very busy in this period. Looking at all the contract the club has on the books, there aren’t any obvious buyouts they could use to create a ton of cap space.

Only Adam Pelech‘s deal actually returns cap savings in a buyout and there’s no way they buy out their number one blueliner.

Salary Arbitration windows: October 4

There are a few different windows to take note of for salary arbitration.

  • Deadline for club-elected window (1st) – Oct. 4
  • Deadline for player-elected window – Oct. 10 @ 5:00 PM
  • Club-elected window (2nd) – Oct. 10 @ 5:01 PM to Oct. 11 @ 5:00 PM

The Islanders have five players who are eligible for arbitration: Ryan Pulock, Devon Toews, Sebastian Aho, Josh Ho-Sang, and Kyle Burroughs.

Of course, arbitration is only used if there’s a disagreement on both sides. The Islanders will look to avoid that as they did two years ago when Brock Nelson filed for arbitration and ultimately signed just before his hearing was scheduled.

I doubt the Isles go through arbitration with any of their eligible players.

NHL Entry Draft: October 6 (first round), October 7 (rounds 2 to 7)

The Islanders aren’t scheduled to step up to the podium until late in the third round. They sent both their first and second-round picks in 2020 to the Ottawa Senators in the Jean-Gabriel Pageau trade at the deadline in February.

It doesn’t mean they won’t be active before that.

The Isles have a ton of cap space to create. The Isles could move some picks to teams with room on the books to help create that space. Or they could acquire some dead-money like Brandon Dubinsky to create some cap space through LTIR.

Either way, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Islanders be active participants at the draft even if they don’t step up to the podium until pick number 90.

Deadline for Qualifying Offers: October 7

We know Mathew Barzal, Ryan Pulock, and Devon Toews will receive qualifying offers from the club. But what about some of their other RFAs? Like Josh Ho-Sang?

The Islanders could just let him go. But in a world where every asset should be maximized why would the Isles just let him walk for nothing?

All RFAs:

  • Mathew Barzal
  • Ryan Pulock
  • Devon Toews
  • Josh Ho-Sang
  • Grant Hutton
  • Sebastian Aho
  • Mitch Vande Sompel*
  • Parker Wotherspoon
  • Linus Soderstrom*
  • Kyle Burroughs

*10.2 (c) player: if given a qualifying offer these players can’t sign offer sheets with other clubs.

Free Agency: October 9

If the Islanders can make some room on the cap they could look to free agency to acquire some much-needed goal scoring. Current Florida Panthers forward Mike Hoffman is constantly being liked to the team.

But in a flat-cap world, with a number of teams looking to offload bad or bloated contracts the Isles will find it hard to offload cap space. If that struggle prevents them from moving the pieces they want, October 9 might be a quiet day for Lou Lamoriello.