The New York Islanders are going to have a surplus of contracts at the NHL level so today, we’re going to talk about three contracts that they should bury in the AHL. First, let’s discuss how a buried contract works.
According to CapFriendly, the cap relief that you receive is the league minimum + $375,000. So for 2021-2022, you can bury up to $1.125 million of a contract in the minors.
For instance, CapFriendly has Thomas Hickey buried already. We won’t use him in this exercise of three contracts because the assumption is that he is already going to start the year in the AHL. Hickey’s contract is $2.5 million so when you subtract the $1.125 million his cap hit then becomes $1.375 million.
Let’s take a look at three other players the Islanders can bury:
From top line LW to the AHL? Yes, his $3 million cap hit is far too high for him to just be a healthy scratch, especially with Travis Zajac expected to return at a much cheaper cost.
Last year, in 33 regular season games, Komarov had eight points (1 goal, 7 assists). He wasn’t a regular then and with the addition of Zach Parise, it’s hard to believe that he will somehow be a regular in this year’s lineup as well.
If Lou Lamoriello can’t trade Leo, sending him to the AHL and saving $1.125 million against the cap is likely the wisest decision.
The Isles received Richard Panik in the Nick Leddy trade and had Detroit retain some salary. His cap figure is just $1.375 million so if he’s waived his cap hit against the team would only be $250,000.
Panik would provide depth as a regular in the AHL and in case there is a litany of injuries, he could absolutely come up and play in a bottom-six role.
Also, with two years remaining on his deal, if the Islanders choose to move on from Cal Clutterbuck after this season, they can have a cheap replacement ready to go for the following season who can fill in fine in a fourth-line role that has experience with Barry Trotz.
At just $1 million against the cap the Islanders can fully bury the Johnston contract. With Matt Martin here for three more years it doesn’t make sense to keep Johnston on the roster, he’s a poor man’s version of Martin anyway.
Send him to the A, and let him do his thing in the minors while having that $1 million of relief.
With all three of these contracts buried, the Islanders would be saving $3.25 million against the cap and will likely have extra forwards like Zajac and Kieffer Bellows in the mix at the NHL level.