NY Islanders News

Five UFA's the Islanders should pursue this summer

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Ondrej Palat
Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Ondrej Palat: Tampa Bay Lightning

While the Lightning has been a thorn in the Islanders' side for the past few seasons, it wouldn't hurt to take an important part of their team away from them.

After all, this is a guy that is 100% capable of playing on a first-line, or anywhere in the lineup for that matter. He has often shared a line with one of Steven Stamkos or Brayden Point, and former MVP Nikita Kucherov.

Palat is a player that can do just about everything. He is gritty, tenacious, defensively sound, and skilled, which fits the Islanders' mold. He's also what many would call an "unsung hero" on a championship team(s) loaded with stars.

Some may consider Palat's campaign during the regular season a down year, even though he finished with 49 points. That total may be shadowing over his previous mark, 46 points in 55 games during the shortened 2020-21 season.

This is mainly due to him not being used on Tampa's power-play units this season, whereas last season he had 7 goals and 20 points on the man advantage. Certainly a need for the Islanders after a poor power-play performance early last season.

For these reasons, I think Palat would be a bargain to any team if he ends up hitting free agency. He makes $5.3 million a year right now, and I can't see him getting much more than that if at all. $5-$5.5 is what I would expect for a few years of term.

Tampa Bay lost key pieces from their championship runs in the past due to their cap restraints, and still made their way to the Eastern Conference Finals this year. They may see a piece like Palat as expendable or offer him an amount that is lower than what he deserves, which could lead to his departure.

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