Islanders: Aleksander Barkov Sets The Mathew Barzal Market
By Matt O'Leary
Oftentimes in the NHL, other teams sign contracts that you can point to and say put a pin in this when it’s time to negotiate with your team’s player. That’s exactly what happened today for the New York Islanders with the Aleksander Barkov extension.
The Florida Panthers signed Barkov to an eight-year $80 million extension. He’s 26 years old and coming off a monster 2021 season that saw him score 26 goals and ut up 58 points in just 50 games last year. His efforts also won him the Selke award for the first time in his career.
Now, I know what you may be thinking, isn’t Barkov a better player than Mathew Barzal? Yes, he absolutely is but there are some factors that come into play here.
Over the last three years, Barkov has 216 points in 198 games while Barzy has 167 points in 205 games. There’s a really big difference there but still, these contracts will likely be very similar despite Barkov’s clear advantage.
The biggest thing is Florida vs New York. It can’t be overstated, Florida has the luxury of not having a state income tax. The two Florida teams have been able to get great value contracts on players for years now because of this, the Barkov deal being just another example of this.
In New York, you’d have to pay an estimated $858,600 in state taxes on $10 million. Whereas in Florida, it’s precisely $0. Sure, there are other kinds of taxes that’ll be taken out but ultimately you would get to keep more of the $10 million in Florida vs the $10 million in New York.
Also, the cap situation. Barkov’s extension is happening now, where at a minimum the Barzal extension won’t take place until this time next year at the absolute earliest. Barzal’s also an RFA, so realistically they don’t have to extend him until the end of the 2023 season.
A $10 million a year player now vs a $10 million a year player in two years from now probably is enough to make up the difference between Barkov and Barzal. It’s not an issue the Islanders have to worry about yet but when looking at this deal the first thing I thought of was that this is a benchmark for Barzal.