The New York Islanders don’t have much cap space, so why hasn’t Lou Lamoriello done anything yet to make some space?
The New York Islanders are one of a number of teams that are short on cap space as we approach the free agency period that opens on October 9 at noon. With only $8.905 million in cap space and only hours remaining until free agency opens it’s easy to see why Islanders fans are nervous.
But Lou has routinely stated if you have time, take it. It’s almost as famous as his hatred for facial hair outside of the playoffs. (To be fair he probably hates facial hair in the playoffs he just tolerates it). When it comes to creating cap space, the Isles have time. Where they may not have that same luxury is when it comes to signing their RFAs.
We’ll Do What We Do
After the draft, Lou Lamoriello was asked about his plans to create some much-needed cap space. His answer was perfectly Lou; it gave away absolutely nothing.
For a guy who has very little cap space to work with and who needs to make space on the salary cap to keep the band together, he seems incredibly indifferent about his position. It’s because he knows he has some time to create space.
During the offseason, which we are in at the moment, NHL teams can exceed the NHL’s hard salary cap by up to ten percent as they try to shape their roster for the upcoming season. With an $81.5 million cap that means the Islanders can add another $8.15 million to their cap ceiling during the offseason.
With $8.905 million in space below the $81.5 ceiling, the Isles essentially have $17.055 million in cap space before the last day of training camp to work with. Of course, the Islanders will have to be below the cap ceiling to start 2020-21, but they have time to clear cap space. They may not have as much time to re-sign their RFAs.
Get Ahead of the Market
The threat of an offer sheet certainly looms for the Islanders. While I don’t think Mathew Barzal, Ryan Pulock, or Devon Toews are looking to sign an offer sheet the threat is still there. The threat may not be losing one of these RFAs, the threat would be letting another team impact the Islanders negotiations.
Even if neither of the three sign an offer sheet the Isles need to avoid having them receive offers from other teams. Something that can begin on October 9 at noon.
The focus should be to get these RFAs under contract (or traded if you can’t) instead of letting them hit the market where another team can effectively have a hand in negotiations.
Now, this isn’t to say “Lou won’t be creating cap space any time soon” but this should serve as an explanation as to why he’s so nonchalant about the situation the Islanders are in with the cap. He’s got time and I bet he’s taking it.