The New York Islanders have work to do this offseason in signing their restricted free agents and getting under the NHL cap ceiling. But it doesn’t stop there. The Isles cap crunch goes beyond this offseason.
All New York Islanders fans are focusing on Lou Lamoriello locking up his three key RFA’s this offseason while improving the team. However, the salary cap will be an obstacle for the Isles’ next offseason as well.
Getting Under the Cap
Last year the Isles offseason for the Isles was about signing their key unrestricted free agents. Except for Robin Lehner, Lamoriello was able to lock up his UFA’s (he signed Semyon Varlamov to replace Lehner).
But it doesn’t end there Islander fans.
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When the dust settles on this Islander offseason it’s hard to see a scenario where they have a lot of room under the cap. Odds are they will be right up against it.
Beauvillier (2.1 Million Cap Hit this Offseason), Pelech (1.6 Million), and Sorokin (2 Million) will all most likely see significant increases after this coming season. The Isles only have one player coming off the books after the 2020-21 season in Casey Cizikas.
Cizikas has a $3.35 million cap number but the Isles want him back, provided they can fit him under the cap. Keep in mind the cap ceiling will likely stay at $81.5 million for the 2021-22 season.
Can Lou clear some cap space by either finding a new home or buying out the last years of Johnny Boychuk (6 Million), Leo Komarov (3 Million), or Thomas Hickey (2.5 Million) after the 2020-21 season? That’s a possibility but trading any of these players after the upcoming season will require giving up future assets in the form of draft picks or prospects.
Sign Beau & Pelech Now
One tactic that Lamoriello can take is to sign Beauvillier and Pelech this offseason (have to see Sorokin play in the NHL first). Lamoriello might be able to get both players locked up at a smaller cap number by offering long-term security.
Keep in mind, Pelech has already signed such a deal when Garth Snow was the GM. This could enable the Isles to get Beauvillier and Pelech at a smaller cap number and give both of them security in a Covid-19 world.
Lamoriello has a lot of important contract work ahead of him. Having said that, Islander fans should feel very confident with Lou at the helm.