Islanders salary cap implications after Johnny Boychuk news

Johnny Boychuk #55 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Johnny Boychuk #55 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

What is the impact of the news that defenseman Johnny Boychuk is ending his NHL career on the New York Islanders salary cap?

How the New York Islanders are going to make enough cap space to get everyone under contract (like Mathew Barzal) and get under the salary cap is the dominant topic of the offseason. With only $3.905 million and Barzal still to sign, it’s clear why that topic was so important for fans.

Just about every Isles fan had at least five different Armchair GM teams on CapFriendly where they tried to piece together how the Islanders could keep the band together while fitting under the cap.

With the news that

Johnny Boychuk

is ending his 13-year NHL career, what does that mean for the Isles salary cap?


There is a possibility, though small, that Johnny Boychuk officially files his retirement papers. But that would mean he’d forfeit the remaining $2.5 million in salary on his contract. While he’s estimated to have already made $49.918 million in his NHL career (according to Cap Friendly), I don’t imagine he’s going to walk away from the rest of the money he’s owed.

But, if Boychuk does in fact officially retire, the Islanders would get the full $6 million cap hit cleared. Putting them at $9.05 million in cap space.

What is likely to happen is that Boychuk won’t officially retire but will instead be placed on long-term injury reserve (LTIR). And while that does give the Islanders some cap space it’s not as straightforward as simply adding another $6 million in cap space.

As CapFriendly explained over Twitter, if Boychuk is placed on LTIR, the Isles would get another $6 million above the ACSL (Accruable Cap Space Limit). ACSL is the cap ceiling minus the cap space currently available to them.

So for the Islanders their ACSL today is:  81.5-3.905=77.595

Adding the $6 million from Boychuk’s deal to that $77.595 million ACSL means the Islanders can spend up to $83.595 million. Giving them $6.001 million in cap space.

Is that enough to sign Mathew Barzal as well as a few depth options? Probably not. But we haven’t yet considered what will happen with Thomas Hickey or Andrew Ladd. If either of them is placed in the AHL that free’s up another $2.15 million in space for the Isles (a total of $8.151 million).