On Saturday the Toronto Maple Leafs and Arizona Coyotes executed a trade. Going to Toronto was Ryan Dzingle and Ilya Lyubushkin for Nick Ritchie and a draft pick. What does that have to do with the New York Islanders?
While the Islanders aren't looking to offload a bunch of contracts they could very well offload at least one deal. That's where the Coyotes-Leafs trade comes in. Because looking at the Coyotes cap situation next year makes one thing very clear the Coyotes are going to have a ton of space on the cap next season. Like a ridiculous amount of space.
New York Islanders: Arizona Coyotes are interesting trade partner
Going into 2022-23 the Arizona Coyotes have over $50 million in cap space. That's right, more than $50 million. They have a projected $31.7 million cap hit next year, or, only 38.4% of the allowable $82.5 million we've been told the cap ceiling will be in 2022-23.
Now the Islanders aren't necessarily looking to shed cap space. They did enough of that in this most recent off-season. They'll have nearly $15 million in space themselves. But if an opportunity presents itself to move a few million off the books you know that Lou Lamoriello is going to take it.
That opportunity is Arizona's incredible amount of cap space. Keep in mind that Arizona has to hit the floor. They're currently nearly $30 million off from even reaching the floor. They're going to need money.
You have to think someone like Semyon Varlamov or even Josh Bailey could be moved to Arizona by puck drop on 2022-23. Both are making $5 million on the cap.
With Sorokin between the pipes, the Isles have their starter. They could find an adequate backup on the free agency market and pay them less than the $5 million they've committed to Varly. But, complicating matters is that 16-team no-trade list. You can safely assume Arizona might be on Varly's no-go list.
Josh Bailey is struggling this year. He was made available in the Seattle expansion draft, signaling that the Islanders feel they'd be OK without him. Unlike Varlamov, he has no trade protection to speak of so he can be moved anywhere, like Arizona, without being able to veto the move. With Kieffer Bellows stepping up and needing a full-time roster spot, Josh Bailey becomes a bit more expendable for the Islanders.
Something to keep in mind is the way Bailey's contract was structured. He carries a $5 million cap hit but is only owed $3.5 million in both of the final years of his deal. That's a $5 million hit for two years while only being paid out $7 million in actual dollars.
Again, the Islanders are projected to have some $15 million in cap space this offseason, they don't need to move either of these guys but if they plan on going big fish hunting in the offseason, getting some of that money off the books by sending it to Arizona could help them do that.