3 Islanders That May Not Be Back for the 2023-24 Season

New York Islanders v Carolina Hurricanes - Game Two
New York Islanders v Carolina Hurricanes - Game Two / Jaylynn Nash/GettyImages
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Albert Einstein once said "insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The New York Islanders have been guilty of that since their new regime took over. It's hard to ignore the difficult salary cap situation they've boxed themselves into, but with a few unrestricted free agents, they'll need to say goodbye to a few players.

After the incredible run the Islanders went on by making two consecutive Conference Finals, the team took a turn backwards. They got older and traded away key parts of their team due to a salary cap crunch. Seeing how the Islanders were offensively outmatched in the playoffs this year, you'd have to think that some change will need to happen.

Let's take a look at three players who may not be back for next season:

Josh Bailey

New York Islanders v Montreal Canadiens
New York Islanders v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

It doesn’t need to be said, but Josh Bailey has been one of the more polarizing players among Islanders fans in his 15 year career. Throughout it all, Bailey has endeared himself to many fans (including having his own song), while others couldn’t wait to kick him out the door. Well, the latter finally may get their wish.

2022-23 wasn't easy for the veteran. While he reached 1000 games, an accomplishment any hockey player strives for, he was healthy scratched more than ever in his career this season. It seemed as if the writing was on the wall for Bailey, by also sitting in the press box during all six playoff games.

He even stated himself that he doesn’t know what is going to happen in the future. “I’ve always thought of myself as an Islander and wanted to play my last game as an Islander,” Bailey told reporters on clean out day. “Who knows what it holds now? It’s a lot to take in for my family and I, but it’s part of the business and I understand that. I’m not playing any ‘poor me’ cards by any means. It’s just a lot.”

In his recent interview with the media, Lou Lamoriello was as open as he’s ever been in his Islanders tenure about Bailey’s situation, “In Josh's case, it looks like, maybe it's near the end here." While it shouldn’t be a surprise to Islanders fans that we most likely have seen the end of the Josh Bailey era, it’s definitely a shock to see Lamoriello so candid regarding a player. 

His $5 million dollar contract has been hard to move in years past. However, now that it’s expiring, perhaps it can be more enticing for teams. The Islanders can also buy him out, which won’t cause much damage, only $3.8 million over the course of the next two years. Whatever happens, we may have seen the last of Josh Bailey on the Island.

Scott Mayfield

New York Islanders v Carolina Hurricanes - Game Two
New York Islanders v Carolina Hurricanes - Game Two / Jaylynn Nash/GettyImages

Just as we’ve seen many times before from the New York Islanders, Scott Mayfield may be a victim of a cap crunch. At the age of 30, Mayfield will be entering unrestricted free agency for the first time in his career. For the past five years, he had one of the more valuable contracts in the league, with only a $1.5 million cap hit.

Now in the prime of his career, one would have to think that Mayfield would like a nice payday before it’s all said and done. For a team like the Islanders, they can’t afford to pay him a hefty sum into his mid 30s. On the open market, Mayfield can possibly command $4-5 million. That’s just too much for an already aging Islanders team.

On the other hand, there’s always a chance he takes a hometown discount. He has stated how much he’s enjoyed his time on the Island and has built roots. Maybe he doesn’t want to give that lifestyle up. 

It gives Lamoriello a difficult decision to make. He’s stated that the Islanders would love to bring him back. It will have to come at a higher price though. Young blue liners Samuel Bolduc, Robin Salo, and Parker Wotherspoon are all knocking on the door for a full time job. This can give the Islanders some flexibility and youth that they desperately need.

Zach Parise

New York Islanders v Columbus Blue Jackets
New York Islanders v Columbus Blue Jackets / Kirk Irwin/GettyImages

This one won't be a popular one.

There is no doubt at the ripe age of 38 (39 in July), Zach Parise can still play in the NHL at a high level. Scoring 21 goals is always an impressive feat, but for someone at his age, it’s remarkable. He’s kept his body in tremendous shape, and hasn’t missed a game since suiting up with the Islanders. The question remains… will Parise want to come back? For the two years he’s donned the blue and orange, Parise’s family remained in Minnesota. 

The 18 year veteran will be mulling his options, but for the first time, left his future open ended. With his kids getting older, he expressed how disappointing it was to miss out on family activities, “They got a lot of stuff going on. It’s just a bummer missing out on a lot of that,” he told the New York Post early on in the season.

There is a strong possibility where he returns to Long Island, given his relationship with Lamoriello. He told the press in clean up day that it was either he retires, or he comes back to the Island. Don't expect an answer from Parise until a little bit before training camp, as he's earned the right to think it over the summer with his family.

His uncertainty raises some pessimism in a possible return. In years past, he's been open about returning and playing another season. Will it be a career for the esteemed veteran?