How can the NY Islanders make a trade for Alex DeBrincat fit under the salary cap?

Toronto Maple Leafs v Ottawa Senators
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The Islanders' Cap Situation

Lou Lamoriello
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7 / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

As you probably know, the NHL has a salary cap.

It was $82.5 million last season and is going up to $83.5m this year before (probably) rising by $4m+ in 2024. The Islanders had a lot of cap space generated by trading Josh Bailey and his contract to Chicago, but they've spent most of it on keeping free agents Scott Mayfield, Pierre Engvall, and Semyon Varlamov. They also signed Ilya Sorokin to an eight-year extension, but that won't kick in until next year, so he's still on his $4 million contract this season.

The Islanders currently only have just over $1 million of cap space, with a roster of 13 forwards, 7 defensemen, and two goalies. NHL teams typically carry 14 forwards, so the Islanders will need to sign or promote one more - almost certainly Oliver Wahlstrom, who is currently a restricted free agent without a contract. Wahlstrom will probably get more than $1 million, which could present a problem, but more on that later.

It might not seem possible. The Islanders have basically no cap space left, how are they going to trade for a 30+ goal scorer entering his prime? Before I explain that, we need to look at how much money DeBrincat will make.