The threat of an offer sheet looms over the New York Islanders for yet another offseason. With $4.42 million in cap space (without Johnny Boychuk’s LTIR money), Lou Lamoriello might not have enough space to sign his trio of RFAs, let alone UFA Casey Cizikas.
Naturally, that means the drama surrounding the Islanders flows towards offer sheets. You know that CBA mechanism that we always talk about but rarely see?
But look, there is little risk that the trio of Islanders RFAs are at risk of signing an offer sheet. Here’s why.
New York Islanders threat of offer sheet isn’t real
This isn’t the first time the Islanders have been at risk of losing a player through an offer sheet. Remember last season when Mathew Barzal, Ryan Pulock, and Devon Toews were RFAs? Apparently the offer sheets “will come” said Freidman at the time.
Not one happened.
Again, we have to remember an important fact about offer sheets. They don’t exist unless a player actually signs it. Teams can certainly approach an RFA and talk to them about signing, but until that player signs, there’s nothing to talk about.
So will one of the Isles RFAs sign an offer sheet? I wouldn’t expect them to. The Islanders have been to back-to-back semi-finals and were only a goal away from the Stanley Cup Finals this year. The window for a championship is open. Why leave now?
Sure, the immediate counter is that the offer sheet is for more money than the Islanders can afford. So if that player is chasing paper they’ll likely sign. But are teams willing to offer Beauvillier, Pelech, or Sorokin around $6 million+ per year? Are they going to offer that deal and potentially lose a first, second, and third-round pick to do so?
Remember, if that team is successful in not only convincing an RFA to sign the offer sheet but to then strong-arm the Isles out of matching the offer, they’d still have to give up draft compensation to the Islanders. (Anything over $6.16 million requires a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.)
And all of that assumes the Islanders and Lou Lamoriello aren’t ready to make the room to match any offer sheet that might come their way. Which they are.
Oh and then you can’t forget that any GM who puts in an offer sheet for and Isles RFA would be pissing off the Godfather-like figure that is Lou Lamoriello. All of those factors lead to the reasonable assumption that we won’t see any offer sheets for an Islanders RFA this offseason.