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Islanders: 3 free agent left-shot defenseman to target

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - FEBRUARY 18: Nick Leddy #2 of the New York Islanders controls the puck during their game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG PAINTS Arena on February 18, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - FEBRUARY 18: Nick Leddy #2 of the New York Islanders controls the puck during their game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG PAINTS Arena on February 18, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
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Mike Reilly #6 of the Boston Bruins. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
Mike Reilly #6 of the Boston Bruins. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

Mike Reilly | Boston Bruins

Why Him?

Cheap. Effective. Offensive upside. He’s got everything the New York Islanders could want. He doesn’t have the prestige of a Nick Leddy because he doesn’t have years of 40+ point production, but he had one of those years between the Sens and Bruins in 20-21.

In 55 games with the Ottawa Senators and Boston Bruins, Reilly scored 27 points. That’s a 40 point pace over a full season. In terms of Game Score, Reilly had a similar impact as Jared Spurgeon and Shayne Gostisbehere, when it comes to zone entries he was one of the better defensemen for both the Bruins and Senators, and his xGF% was tenth in the NHL at 5on5 for defensemen with at least 800 minutes of ice time.

There’s something to like about Mike Reilly’s game in terms of being an offense-first puck mover. He’s a perfect replacement for Nick Leddy.

What Might it Cost?

I started this slide with “cheap”, and that’s exactly what Reilly would be. He had a really good year so he deserves a raise but consider that his last deal carried a $1.5 cap hit. If he hits the open market a $3 million AAV is fair and could pull him in.

At $3 million the Islanders would have and extra $2.5 million cap space if you view Reilly as a 1:1 swap for Leddy.

Why it might not work?

Does he want to leave Boston? They have cap space and their window is still open. They have a number of big free agents to sign but they might be able to afford that $3 million cap hit. He’ll get good minutes in Boston and could put up points. He had eight in the 15 games he played before the playoffs.

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