The New York Islanders and defenseman Ryan Pulock agreed to a two-year $10 million deal today.
The New York Islanders and Ryan Pulock avoid arbitration by committing to a two-year deal with a $5 million AAV. This is an excellent deal for the Islanders who’ve now locked up a key RFA at an incredibly reasonable price.
We’ll see how the numbers in terms of signing bonuses and actual salary work out as well as any trade protection, but for now, the Islanders have given themselves some much-needed breathing room and avoided arbitration with a key player. More importantly, they locked that player up at a great number. This is a big win for the Isles.
Room to Breathe
With Pulock signed at a $5 million cap hit the Islanders have committed $77.594 million of an $81.5 million salary cap. That leaves $3.905 million in space below the ceiling and $12.055 in offseason cap space (teams can go over the cap by 10% in the offseason). That’s more than enough offseason cap space to figure out the Mathew Barzal extension and ward off any sort of offer sheets.
This extension also allows the Islanders to open a second buyout window in two days time for deals exceeding a $4 million AAV.
Although when you look at what those buyouts could bring in possible cap space it makes little sense for the Islanders to actually use a buyout. Check out this buyout tier I did a month ago to see what a buyout for any player on the roster would bring in terms of cap savings.
The two-year deal allows the Islanders to kick the can down the road a few more years for Pulock who just turned 26 a month ago. By 2022-23, Leddy, Boychuk, Hickey, Clutterbuck, and Komarov will all be off the books. That opens $20.5 million in cap space.
Pulock has firmly established himself as the team’s number one d-man and has consistently put up 30+ points on a team that values defense over offense. Had the season gone a full 82 games, Pulock would have likely seen his fist 40 point season in the NHL this year.
With this deal, Pulock is clearly putting faith in his abilities to be even better over the next two years and putting himself in line with a big payout as he becomes a UFA at the end of this deal.
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The big take away from this deal is that Lou Lamoriello has been able to keep a key piece of the Islanders blue line at a reasonable cap hit and has now given himself some room to figure out Mathew Barzal’s extension as well.
This is a great deal for the Islanders as they look to keep a team that has steadily risen to the top of the NHL over the last two seasons and is looking to take that next step towards a championship.