The Islanders could still use a top of the line goal scorer. Here’s how they can make that work with the cap situation.
“The Islanders don’t have the cap space!” has been incorrectly screamed at me over the internet for months now when it comes to making room for a player like Mike Hoffman. It’s evident to anyone who watches this team that the Isles need goal scoring and that a player like Hoffman would be perfect.
Yes, the Isles cap situation isn’t great there’s no denying that but it isn’t bad enough to the point where they can’t sign a player on a one-year deal in the COVID market.
Anthony Cirelli signed for $4.8 million AAV, Erik Haula $1.75 million, Mikael Granlund $3.75 million, and Anthony Duclair $1.7 million in the past month. You can make the case that nearly every single one of these guys signed for under their market value.
There’s a legit chance that Hoffman is going to have to take a one-year deal at around the $5 million mark, and the Isles can absolutely make that work. Here’s how I did it:
The first step is bumping Andrew Ladd to LTIR. With multiple knee injuries at this point, it seems all but a lock for him to be LTIR material like we saw with Johnny Boychuk’s career-ending injury. If someone who could only play five games (including the playoffs) in the NHL can’t be an LTIR candidate I don’t know who can.
I also brought back Andy Greene for $1 million, Matt Martin for $800,000, and added Cory Schneider for $725,000 (on the taxi squad). (I forgot to switch up the d-pairs but it would be Pelech – Pulock, Leddy – Mayfield, Greene – Dobson)
I also signed familiar face JF Berube to go play in the AHL along with Jakub Skarek and Dmytro Timashov signed for $700,000 to play in the AHL as well. Some more work would have to be done for AHL depth, but as it stands the Isles would have $2.06 million in cap space if they did this.
That would be adding someone who has had 65 goals in the last two seasons on a one-year, relatively low-cost hit and staying under the cap for 2021. If I’m Lou Lamoriello I’d be all over this.
A move like this would take the Islanders from a nice team that is likely a playoff team that could maybe win a round or two to a legit contender in the Eastern Conference.
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So yes, the cap situation for the Islanders isn’t great but it isn’t completely impossible for them to improve their team. The only thing is this all has to happen before January 13 which is coming up quickly.