The desire for New York Islanders general manager, Lou Lamoriello, is to be involved with some top offensive forwards come noon on Wednesday. For that to happen, the free agent negotiations will need to be creative as the Islanders are projected to have around $11,185,037 million in cap space available.
That number will be cut at least in half after RFAs, Noah Dobson and Alexander Romanov sign new contracts.
The only cap relief that the Islanders can create is through trading their own large contracts. Not only will one contract have to be moved, but potentially two contracts to free up the space to command the likes of Johnny Gaudreau or Nazem Kadri.
Why would any team take on a ‘bad” contract from the Islanders?
There are rebuilding teams willing to take on contracts to reach the salary cap floor, however, said teams will expect additional assets to sweeten the deal like draft picks or prospects.
As of today, there are eight teams below the cap floor. They are the Seattle Kraken, Ottawa Senators, New Jersey Devils, Calgary Flames, Arizona Coyotes, Detroit Red Wings, Buffalo Sabres, and Anaheim Ducks. Notice the Chicago Blackhawks are not yet in that group. The Blackhawks may join that list if they decide to trade players like Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. As of right now, they say otherwise.
The Islanders unloaded players with large contracts last off-season in a similar fashion to the Detroit Red Wings and Arizona Coyotes. Arizona will be in the same position this offseason and Detroit, although looking to upgrade, could take on a contract if they're willing as well. Additionally, expect the Sabres and Ducks to be willing to take on a contract to collect future assets. The Coyotes will likely be icing a young roster while playing in a college arena. They currently are $6,618,291 million below the cap floor.
The Ducks have the most available space, being $17,923,333 million below the cap floor. Could Anaheim be willing to give Anthony Beauvillier a change of scenery? His speed and skill could translate better in a more open system and the cap hit would not be an issue. The Ducks would need to pay a premium to obtain the 25-year-old forward.
Lamoriello will need to perform some salary cap gymnastics in order to make a splash at noon. Expect Lamoriello to make calls out West in the coming hours.