The New York Islanders Lou Lamoriello has been a busy man these last few days. He has traded three veteran players away freeing up a little more than $15 million in cap space. Clearly, Lamoriello’s plan is to reel in a big fish.
The Islanders first sent Nick Leddy to Detroit (2021 2nd Round Pick & Richard Panik) so they would not lose him for nothing to Seattle in the Expansion Draft. Then the Isles got Andrew Ladd’s $5.5 million cap hit off the books at the price of two second-round picks (and possibly a third-round pick). Finally, Jordan Eberle was taken by the Kraken in expansion.
Lamoriello has a plan and now he has the flexibility to land a big-time forward to this team. One could argue the missing piece to make the Islanders a Stanley Cup Champion.
Landeskog could be target for Islanders
With Johnny Boychuk’s $6 million cap hit heading to LTIR according to Cap Friendly the Isles will have nearly $24 million in cap space. They have to sign their RFA’s (Adam Pelech, Anthony Beauvilier, Ilya Sorokin) and one would think Casey Cizikas will be resigned as well. The Isles did protect Matt Martin and Cal Clutterbuck which leads you to believe the Islanders Identity Line will remain intact.
That should be enough space to bring on a big-time winger and that player is Gabriel Landeskog. Landeskog checks off a lot of boxes.
Landeskog is a scoring winger who plays a two-way game and is in the prime of his career, He also brings a ton of intangibles and is a leader (captain of the Colorado Avalanche).
The only downside is with signing impactful unrestricted free agents you going to have to go 1-2 more years than you would like, as well as, have an AAV of $1 million-plus more than ideal. Figure a Landeskog signing would be the Lee contract of 7 years $49 million.
Still More Salary to Move
The Isles will also want to add Zach Parise for the third line and a veteran defenseman to replace Leddy. Praise’s deal should be a one-year bonus incentive deal so his cap hit will be very low. The veteran defenseman they will bring in to replace Leddy could cost at least $3 million.
Look for Lou to free up more cap space by moving some contracts such as Leo Komarov, Thomas Hickey, Ross Johnston, and Panik. Lamoriello should be able to move two of these players and also has Kieffer Bellows in his back pocket to use as a sweetener to get a deal done.
Lou and the Islanders brain trust still have a lot of work to do but the first part of their plan to reel in a big fish has been a success.