Casey Cizikas - 6 years, $2.5 million AAV
This was the day Cizikas told us he was going to "die an Islander' and that "Long Island is my home and will always be my home." He exemplified everything about what it meant to play like an Islander BEFORE he said those things.
The term was long, the AAV more than reasonable, and that was always going to be the trade-off. The thinking that at age 30, 'Zeeker' would remain a serviceable fourth-line center for much of the contract, and with the likelihood of the salary cap eventually going up, the number will not be one that adversely impacts the team's flexibility to make roster moves.
2021-22 Season: 10 G, 6 A in 74 GP
Cizikas, like most of the roster, falls into the "needs to be better" category in 2022-23. Among the stats that jump out is one that is often overlooked - penalty minutes. His 58 PIM was sixth highest on the Islanders (24 penalties ranked third), not ideal for one of the team's top penalty killers.
As Stefan Rosner wrote in NYIHockeyNow back in June, this was a reversal of course and a step back for Cizikas, who "during the 56-game season of 2020-21, Cizikas was ultra disciplined, with just 27 PIM. It was an impressive turnaround, given his 41 PIM in 48 games during the 2019-20 season."
Last season, Cizikas went a 25 game stretch without a goal, registering only a single assist during that time. The reasonable deal with bargain potential still has a chance to be that, but with his 'Identity-Line' line-mates a year older, this long deal will start to feel even longer if Cizikas can't be more of a consistent presence offensively.