I know, I know, it’s not even the 2021-2022 season yet why are we talking about the New York Islanders UFA’s next year? Well, Lou Lamoriello has left a lot up in the air when it comes to the current state of the roster so all we can do now is predict and project.
What I wanted to do today was look at the UFA’s for the Islanders next season. I won’t include Travis Zajac and Zach Parise on this list because their contract for this year isn’t confirmed yet so we will be going through the seven pending UFA’s who currently (and officially) have contracts for this year (Austin Czarnik and Ken Appleby don’t count either).
Here are my predictions for each one of the Islanders pending UFA’s:
Ryan Pulock – Extended
The New York Islanders have to sign Ryan Pulock. The 26-year-old defenseman is integral in what the Islanders do year in and year out. With Adam Pelech just getting a long-term extension, you’d have to imagine that they will finally do the same thing for Pulock.
He’s coming off a 17 point season but over the course of his career, he’s performed at a .43 points per game clip. He’s a top pair guy and after back-to-back bridge deals, he will finally cash in big.
Contract Prediction: 8 years $56 million ($7 million AAV)
Cal Clutterbuck – Extended
If it were up to me, I think I’d let him walk. I love the identity line as much as the next guy but Cal Clutterbuck especially has taken a massive beating over the years. He played a majority of the season this past year (50 of 56 games) but the year prior he missed half the regular season.
Plus, he’ll be 34 when he’s due for an extension. I’d be all for Richard Panik taking over on the right side but I don’t think Lou does that.
He won’t get a Casey Cizikas like extension but they’ll extend him for the remainder of the Matt Martin contract (two more years at that point)
Contract Prediction: 2 years $3.5 million ($1.75 million AAV)
Leo Komarov – Walk
I’m sorry, it would be criminal if they re-signed Leo Komarov. He is not better than any of the other options that they could put in the lineup in front of him in 2022.
In his last 81 regular-season games over two seasons, he has 22 points (5 goals, 17 assists) at a $3 million cap hit. He’s a 13th forward at this point in his career at best and the Islanders have a laundry list of guys who can fill that role.
Ross Johnston – Walk
Matt Martin is under contract. There is no point in having Ross Johnston, who is a poor man’s version of Martin, on the roster.
Johnny Boychuk – Retires
Johnny Boychuk was a great Islander. It was extremely sad to see his career end the way that it did and after spending this year on LTIR he will officially put in his paperwork to retire. I hope that he stays with the organization in some kind of role, Johnny is one of the good ones.
Andy Greene – Retires
Andy Greene was brought back on another league minimum deal for his age 38 season. To his credit, he played in 55 of 56 regular season games last year and averaged 17:35 per night. I’d anticipate that ice time to go down again in 2021-2022.
In this stage of his career, he’s a sixth defenseman. I would be stunned if Lou Lamoriello went for round three of Andy Greene.
Thomas Hickey – Walk
I feel awful for Thomas Hickey. His career has gone off the rails after the 2018-2019 season but I don’t think he calls it a career. I think he’ll get a deal with somebody, maybe like Ottawa or Arizona at league minimum to compete for a spot.