The NY Islanders are coming down to their final five games and the big question is will they make the playoffs as one of the wild cards? If they don't the off-season will begin in April once again for the blue and orange.
One of Lou Lamoriello's first things to address is what he will do with pending unrestricted free agent Scott Mayfield. If Mayfield hits the UFA market come July 1st, there will be interest in him no doubt. The Isles biggest competition to resign Mayfield could come from an old friend in Barry Trotz who will take over as the general manager of the Nashville Predators this summer.
Mayfield & the Market
Mayfield is having a solid season as a physical defensive defenseman. He's scored five goals, and 22 points, is a plus-five rating, and is capable of logging the second most minutes on average of time on ice for the Islanders at 21:00.
Mayfield at 6'5, 220 lbs was a second-round pick (34th overall) by the Islanders in 2011. He is in the last year of his five-year deal for $7.25 million that he signed when Garth Snow was the GM. Mayfield will turn 31 at the beginning of next season and looking at the UFA market for defenseman last summer it would seem that he will land a four-year deal with an AAV between $3.75 - $4.5 million.
Last July the Colorado Avalanche resigned Josh Manson to a four-year deal with an AAV of $4.5 million. In addition, the St.Louis Blues signed Nick Leddy and the Columbus Blue Jackets signed Erik Gudbranson, both to four-year deals with an AAV of $4 million. While they are different players than Mayfield that seems to be the market rate for a UFA defenseman.
The question is will Lamoriello look to replace Mayfield internally and use that cap space elsewhere or will he resign one of the Islanders' main stays on the blue line for the last number of years?
Teams are always looking to upgrade their blue line and Mayfield will be one of the better options on the free agent market come July 1st provided the Isles don't extend him before then.
But one team, in particular, to watch out for is Nashville. Everyone knows Trotz believes in having a defense team first. Also with Trotz's time with the Islanders, he knows Mayfield the player and the person backward and forwards. Signing Mayfield would seem to be a Trotz signature move.
Nashville will have cap space this summer and most likely will be looking to upgrade its blue line. Be interesting to see what the Preds do with the veteran Tyson Barrie who turns 32 over the summer and is just a year away from free agency. He appears to be a stop-gap for Nashville who needed to take him back cap-wise in the Mattias Ekholm trade with the Edmonton Oilers.
Anyway you slice it, not only would one expect Trotz to be interested in landing Mayfield but so will several other clubs. However, given Trotz's DNA and how well he knows Mayfield, he may be willing to offer a richer deal in dollars and term than all the other clubs, including the Islanders.