The recurring explanation for the New York Islanders not announcing transactions this off-season is that G.M. Lou Lamoriello needs to make a move for other dominos to fall and deals to be announced.
The term 'salary dump' has been reserved for the veteran of 993 Islander games, Josh Bailey, and the two remaining years of his contract that carry a cap hit of $5M AAV. But if the Islanders can't find a willing partner to take on Bailey, is shedding salary the main objective regardless of the player involved?
NY Islanders don't want to take back salary in a trade
In MTLHockeyNow, Jimmy Murphy reports that Anthony Beavullier is on the trade market, and the Montreal Candiens are among the teams interested. The hold-up, according to Murphy, is that the Islanders are holding firm in their stance that they do not take back salary in any deal.
Having to move a player with the upside of Beauvillier for draft picks would represent an organizational failure similar to having to move Devon Toews to the Colorado Avalanche for a pair of second-round picks two seasons ago.
The 25-year-old Beauvillier scored 12 goals in 75 last season after netting 15 in just 47 games the previous season. Prior to the start of last season, he inked a three-year contract extension at $4.15M a year. The Quebec native was drafted in the first round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft (28th overall) and has recorded 93 goals and 96 assists in 408 games with the Islanders.
"There have been at least exploratory NHL trade discussions on Beauvillier and other Islanders players but the Islanders’ refusal to back off their stance of not taking any salary back in a trade right now has stalled trade talks not just with the Canadiens but plenty of potential NHL trade suitors."- Jimmy Murphy, MTLHockeyNow
Even if Beauvillier doesn't reach the heights Toews has reached in Colorado, the goal of any organization is to turn your draft picks - especially the high ones - into key contributors. To move on from them, not due to performance but because of bad contracts, stunts the organization's ability to build and keep momentum season to season.
The Islanders are hardly the only team hindered by the flat cap in recent years. But it's been particularly frustrating to have to "rob Peter to pay Paul" in recent off-seasons by re-signing and extending some players at the expense of trading others for less in return.
Beauvillier is far from untouchable. He's been a streaky scorer with 20-goal potential throughout his career, albeit one that has played best when it's mattered the most in the post-season. Trading him as part of a package that improves the roster for the right now is plausible as one of the team's most attractive assets given his age and potential.
If there is no market for Bailey and the Islanders' hand is forced to make a move they would otherwise not entertain, doing it in a deal with a primary goal of moving salary would be an especially bitter pill to swallow, all in an effort to improve the team.