Islanders: Using Mikhail Sergachev’s extension to predict Mathew Barzal’s

Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Looking at Mikhail Sergachev’s extension gives a hint to what Mathew Barzal’s extension could look like with the New York Islanders.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev signed a three years deal worth $14.4 million ($4.8 million AAV) a few days ago. Sergachev was one of the Lightning’s big-name RFA’s still without a contract. Looking at the contract he signed, it’s clear the New York Islanders could do the same type of deal with RFA Mathew Barzal.

Just like Sergachev, Barzal’s entry-level contract expired this year. With 60 points in 68 games, Barzal again lead the Islanders in points and as such should expect to get a sizeable deal as he negotiates his first standard player contract.

Of course, the pandemic and the shortened 2019-20 and 2020-21 season are going to have an impact on how Barzal and the Islanders negotiate the next deal. But we can get a good sense of what Barzal could sign by looking at Sergachev’s deal.

Keeping the Band Together

After Sergachev signed, he told The Atheltic (subscription required) that the deal was something that worked for both sides and allowed the team “to function”, ie: it allowed the Lightning to keep as much of it team intact as possible.

We know this is something that Mathew Barzal wants as well. After Ryan Pulock signed a two-year $10 million extension ($5 million AAV) with the Islanders he told the media that he and Barzal didn’t want their extensions to break up the team.

So we know Barzal’s deal shouldn’t sink the Islanders, who are already stretched thin on the NHL’s salary cap. Barzal (and the Islanders) could have normally achieved a team-friendly deal with a long-term contract. But with the economic climate being what it is today, there’s no way Barzal is going to get what he would have otherwise thought possible.

With that being said, a bridge deal is the best bet. Barzal can get a decent raise now and kick that $10+ million extension down the road a few more years.

So how could the Islanders structure that bridge deal? Looking at how Sergachev’s deal is built could shed some light on that.

  • Year 1: $1.5 million Signing Bonus, $900,000 Salary
  • Year 2: $1.5 million Signing Bonus, $3.3 million Salary
  • Year 3: $0 Singing Bonus, $7.2 million Salary

Now, the dollars aren’t what you should focus on. Barzal will surely sign a deal that will carry a higher cap hit than Sergachev’s $4.8 million AAV. Focus on the structure of signing bonus to salary.

That first year is 37.5% salary, the rest is signing bonus money, while the final year is 100% salary. The first year is also quite low compared to year three.

Here’s how a Barzal deal could be structured to set him up for a three-year $7 million AAV while  setting him up to cash in on a $10 million AAV on his next deal:

  • Year 1: 3 Signing Bonus, 1.5 Salary
  • Year 2: 3 Signing Bonus, 4.5 Salary
  • Year 3: 9 Salary
  • Total: $21 million deal or $7 million AAV

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We won’t likely see a deal until Barzal and the Islanders know what the framework of the 2020-21 season looks like and how escrow and any extra salary deferrals look like. But I think this three-year bridge deal based on the Sergachev extension makes a ton of sense.