Islanders: 3 Players Who Could’ve Played Their Last Game On Long Island
By Matt O'Leary
The New York Islanders will be busy this offseason. These three players likely played their last game as a member of the Islanders.
After each season comes to an end, there is always some kind of roster turnover. It may not be as massive as what the Islanders saw in 2018, but even on teams with a core of players signed long-term it’s something every team deals with in the cap era.
This year, there’s a possibility of three really difficult goodbyes for the Islanders and their fans. These three players have been a staple of the franchise for a long time and it seems more than likely that they will be moved on from.
Two of these guys are UFA’s and the other is a contract dump waiting to happen. Let’s get into the list:
Greiss has been a member of the Islanders since he signed on for the 2015-2016 season to be Jaroslav Halak’s backup. Due to injuries, he ended up playing 41 games for the Isles that year and he was excellent in net. He finished with a .925 save percentage and a 2.36 goals against average.
In the playoffs both he and John Tavares were the reason the Isles were able to advance in the playoffs for the first time since 1993, he was incredible posting a .923 save percentage.
After a disappointing 2017-2018 season where he was arguably the worst goalie in the league statistically, he bounced back under Barry Trotz the final two years of his contract. During his five year stint with the Isles he finished 101-60-17 with a .915 save percentage and 2.70 goals against average.
Not bad for someone who was signed for depth half a decade ago. With Ilya Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov under contract for next season, it’s very difficult to justify bringing Greiss back. He will be remembered fondly on the Island.
Like Greiss, Martin is a UFA as well. Martin signed a big deal in 2016 with the Maple Leafs but Lou Lamoriello acquired him via trade in July of 2018 to bring him back to Long Island. In nine years with the Isles, he has 110 points in 560 games.
As a fourth-liner that’s not his game. He’s a hit machine finishing with over 200 hits each season he played with the Islanders. He might not fight as much as he once did but there’s no denying that he’s still effective on the fourth line.
It wouldn’t cost a ton to bring him back, but with the cap crunch, he could, unfortunately, be squeezed out. He’s a fan favorite, and for good reason, this potential goodbye is going to be a tough one.
Boychuk has two years remaining on a $6 million cap hit. For teams looking to make the cap floor without taking on a ton on the books, Boychuk’s contract is appealing.
If the Isles trade him after paying him his $2.75 million signing bonus for the 2020-2021 season, the acquiring team would be on the hook for his $1.25 million base salary this year and just $4 million the following year but they’d receive a $6 million cap hit in return each year.
He can still play, that’s not the issue, the Islanders just don’t need him as proven by healthy scratching him for a majority of the playoffs this year. They could easily roll with Noah Dobson and Andy Greene at a reduced cost (see Dennis Seidenberg contracts) to round out the remainder of the d-pairs.
Boychuk was a solid piece of this team for six seasons, at this point it’s just more cost-effective to move on from him in order to sign other key players and hopefully improve the roster in other areas.
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If these three players go, it’s going to be a tough goodbye but at this point, I don’t see any other choice. Thank you for your service Thomas, Matty, and Johnny you’ll always be Islanders in our book.