Johnny Gaudreau: Calgary Flames
Oh Johnny Hockey, how beautiful it would be to see him add royal blue to his regular orange uniform.
Arguably an MVP snub this season, Gaudreau had a sensational campaign during his contract year. Forty goals,115 points, and a whopping +/- of +64 while playing on the best line in hockey this season.
The Boston College product made a gigantic jump from a disappointing 2021-22 season, where he only had 49 points in 56 games and was getting called out publicly by his coach Darryl Sutter at times. No better time to get rewarded for that massive improvement than when the offseason arrives.
There's no doubt that he will be one of the highest-paid players in the league next season. He's relatively young still while being so skilled, and evasive, and makes your team that much better. He will likely go from his modest $6.75 million AAV to possibly double digits or just under.
Unfortunately, it's quite unlikely that he ends up signing here in New York, let alone leaving Calgary, but a fan can certainly hope!
The Flames are expected to do everything in their power to retain him. That will also be a large price for any team, including the Islanders, to pay. Cap dumps are almost unavoidable when signing a player for that much as a contender.
There are many options that the Islanders can explore this offseason to improve the team, but hopefully, one or more of these five players mentioned will be pursued aggressively. It will be interesting to see what direction management decides to go in, considering that the Islanders are not far away from reclaiming their status as a contender in the Metro.