The New York Islanders went into the 2021-22 offseason needing to clear a chunk of cap space. They were right up to the $81.5 million cap ceiling and still needed to sign key RFAs Adam Pelech, Ilya Sorokin, and Anthony Beauvillier.
Everyone held their breath to see how the Isles GM would make it all work. Not only did Lou make enough room to sign his key RFAS, but he’s opened up a ton of space this season, and next with the masterclass he’s put on.
New York Islanders GM cap clearing genius
With Johnny Boychuk gone (or at least what remains of his contract) the Isles have cleared up nearly $23 million of cap space now. And they gave up very little to do so. Here’s a breakdown of what’s gone out and what’s come in to shed that cap space:
- Nick Leddy ($5.5 million)
- Jordan Eberle ($5.5 million)
- Andrew Ladd ($5.5 million)
- 2021 2nd
- 2022 2nd
- 2023 3rd
- Johnny Boychuk ($6 million)
- Richard Panik (at 50% off)
- 2021 2nd
- $22.5 million in cap space
So with $22.5 million out the door, the Islanders didn’t have to shed a roster player and they didn’t have to shed a single top prospect (or any prospect for that matter). All they had to move was two second-round picks and a third. That’s it.
His most recent deal (sending Boychuk to Buffalo for future considerations), was Lou just pouncing on an opportunity after Buffalo needed to hit the cap floor following the Jack Eichel trade.
Sure, the Isles lose those players but Ladd had one professional game played last year even though he was in the AHL the full season. Boychuk is retired (though not officially). And Jordan Eberle was replaced by Kyle Palmieri (which can be seen as an upgrade). The only true loss is Nick Leddy.
The Isles have yet to replace Leddy’s puck-moving abilities. A role I’m sure they felt Noah Dobson could take up, but so far the youngster hasn’t been able to pick up Nick Leddy’s baton.
All that maneuvering allowed Lou to sign his RFAs and now has $2 million in cap space this year. A figure that can jump to $10 million by the trade deadline. For 2022-23, the Isles currently have $13.755 million in space with Dobson likely being the only notable player needing a deal. (that’s going to be a two-year $4 million deal, no?)
Again, Lou spent little this mountainous amount of cap space. I don’t think there’s any other way to describe what he did other than masterclass.