New York Islanders Obstacles to Make a Deal
The New York Islanders are trying to build on their club that went to the Eastern Conference Finals this past season. However, they have several obstacles ahead of them.
Over the last week leading into the NHL Draft, all blue and orange fans have been waiting for from the New York Islanders was for them to make a deal. They were anticipating a trade leading into or during the Draft and a signing once free agency began. Nothing major has come to pass yet.
The Islanders are currently $8.9 million under the cap. They have to sign restricted free agents, Mathew Barzal, Ryan Pulock, and Devon Toews. Clearly, that’s not enough cap space.
is going to need to move a contract or two to be able to sign his RFA’s, improve the team, and get under the cap.
Everyone in the league knows that the Isles have to move money which makes Lamoriello’s job that much harder. Also, the Islanders are not alone regarding cap issues which eliminate several trading partners. When you also factor in Lou does not want to trade with a contending team in the division (everyone but the Devils) that narrows it down further.
In a perfect world, Lamoriello would move Johnny Boychuk ($6 million cap hit) and Leo Komarov ($3 million). Both have two years to go on their deals but both also have modified no-trade clauses. But what teams are clamoring for these veterans at these cap numbers? A team trying to get to the floor may be interested but they would want a significant sweetener in any possible deal.
The Isles could move Nick Leddy ($5.5 million) to free up cap space. Several teams are looking for a top-four defenseman. The big NHL Insiders (The Athletic, Fourth Period, TSN) have banded about that Vancouver, Florida, and Winnipeg are all in the market for such a player. However, because of the Isles cap situation teams are probably trying to hold up Lamoriello in terms of a return for someone like Leddy.
Between Komarov and Ross Johnston, Lamoriello could send one down to Bridgeport (have to clear waivers) and have the other player on the Isles fourth line. That would free up a million in cap space. Lou could do the same thing with Thomas Hickey and Andrew Ladd which would free up another two million, putting the Isles cap space just under $12 million.
Have to think Lamoriello will be able to find a trading partner for Leddy and get some value in return. The Isles are lacking a second-round pick in next year’s draft due to the Andy Greene trade. A second-round pick and a prospect (not a blue-chipper) and Leddy could be on his way.
Lamoriello could also move a young player like Kieffer Bellows (first-round pick in 2016) to get a deal down and free up cap space.
Lamoriello is not in an easy position but all Islander fans should trust in Lou.