Islanders: Creating cap space will be trading Josh Bailey not Semyon Varlamov

Washington Capitals v New York Islanders - Game One
Washington Capitals v New York Islanders - Game One / Elsa/GettyImages

As the New York Islanders enter the offseason they'll have approximately $13.5 million in cap space to work with. You'd think that could be enough to do what they need as they navigate the offseason.

But with what the Islanders are trying to bring in during the summer (a top-line winger and top-4 defenseman) it might not be quite enough. Consider that at least one of those players will likely come in through free agency where a serious overpay is likely.

So shedding some cap space might be in order.

New York Islanders: Creating cap space will not be trading Semyon Varlamov

Who goes out to create that space is a debate but one of Josh Bailey or Semyon Varlamov come up a lot. Both carry a $5 million cap hit and neither of them is pivotal to this squad.

Now, that's not to diminish the quality of either player. When it comes to Josh Bailey, he's at best a middle-six winger at this point. And while there's nothing wrong with middle-six players, the Islanders have an abundance of such players: Anthony Beauvillier, Kyle Palmieri, Zach Parise, Kieffer Bellows, and even Oliver Wahlstrom. That's five guys for four spots without counting Josh Bailey.

For Semyon Varlamov, it's clear that the Islanders crease belongs to Ilya Sorokin. Varlamov is at best a 1B now for the Islanders.

The Islanders don't have an abundance of goalies to step in for Varlamov if he were to be moved. Jakub Skarek is likely the Isles third-string goalie, and outside of a strong January, the 2018 third-rounder didn't have a great year. The Islanders aren't at a place where they can trade Varlamov because of the promise of Skarek.

I know in the past I've argued the Isles could look at moving him, but where I pause now is on the fact that the Isles will have to spend some of that cleared cap space on a replacement. So how much cap space does a Varly trade actually net the Isles? Maybe $2-3 million? So if the only reason the Isles entertain a trade is to clear his $5 million cap, why do it if you can use all of it?

Moving Josh Bailey would net the Isles a clear $5 million because they could backfill his position with someone already under contract (or someone like Bellows who could be extended for cheap). Not to mention Bailey doesn't have any trade protection while Varlamov holds that16-team no-trade list.

So if the Islanders need to make cap space this offseason we'll surely see Josh Bailey moved out and not Semyon Varlamov.