The New York Islanders will have a spot (or two) on the left side of the defense, who could they target in free agency to fill that void?
Free agency opens on July 28 and the New York Islanders could well have an opening or two on the left side of the blue line. Looking at free agency, there are a few interesting candidates to fill that role.
When I say free agency I strictly mean unrestricted free agents. The Islanders aren’t about to go out there an offer sheet an RFA defenseman. Lou Lamoriello isn’t about to rock the boat like that, it’s just not his style.
Before I get to who are interesting targets I wanted to briefly discuss why there might be an opening or two on the Isles blueline.
The first opening is in all likelihood Andy Greene‘s spot on the third pair. I know that the 38-year-old indicated that he wanted to return, but the Isles might look to see if they can get an upgrade or another more prestigious mentor.
The second opening could be Nick Leddy. He will certainly be exposed in the Seattle expansion draft but it’s not clear if Seattle takes him. They could perhaps use a smooth-skating offensive-minded puck-mover like Leddy. His expiring contract also makes him appealing if they don’t make the playoffs in 2021-22.
But do they want to pay him $7 million in salary and carry that $5.5 million hit? Maybe. It’s possible Nick Leddy doesn’t return for the Islanders next season, which would free up another spot on the roster.
So, we know there will be a gap or two on the left side of the blueline for 2021-22. Who could the Isles target in the 2021 UFA class to fill one of those gaps, what might it cost, and why might that player not be available?