Managing the Cap
Moving Ladd was instrumental for Lou Lamoriello’s main priority in the offseason: managing the salary cap.
The Isles still had their eyes firmly set on a Stanley Cup. After falling 1-0 to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7, the Isles had unfinished business. But how in the world was Lou going to (1) keep this team together and (2) bring some sort of improvements to the squad that was two goals short of the Stanley Cup Finals all while staying under the flat cap of $81.5 million?
Well, of course, Lou Lamoriello* found a way to do it. By the time the final roster came in for the 2021-22 season, the Islanders had just under $6,700 worth of cap space.
And he did so while keeping 90% of his team together while also bringing about improvements to said squad. Sure, the Islanders lost Jordan Eberle for free to Seattle, but it allowed them to re-allocate Eberle’s $5.5 cap hit to keep Kyle Palmieri and get $500,000 in savings on the cap.
And honestly, on paper Palmieri for Eberle seems like an upgrade for the Isles top line.
The Isles also lost Nick Leddy, and while they haven’t seemingly found a replacement for him, it stands to reason that Noah Dobson will be given a chance to step into the role of the team’s number one puck mover. Will that be an upgrade?
Maybe Dobson doesn’t score 40 points this year, but if he gets close it will be a huge win for the Isles. Consider he’s still on his ELC which carries an $894,167 cap hit, or 16% of Leddy’s cap hit. So if Dobson can provide 75% of Leddy’s production but at 16% of the price, it’s a massive win for the Isles.
And that’s not considering the bargain price he paid to bring in Zach Parise for the third line. A signing that will effectively cost 50% of Leo Komarov‘s deal but that could provide more goals this year than Komarov has ever scored with the Isles (11).
Lou Lamoriello was able to manage the cap, keep his core, and get better. That’s #Winning.
*Note: A lot of credit here also goes to assistant GM Steve Pellegrini. He’s Lou’s cap genius and the man who’s in Lou’s ear about how best to navigate the salary cap. Steve deserves a ton of credit too.