The New York Islanders are one good winger away from becoming Stanley Cup champions. Mike Hoffman recorded 29 goals and 30 assists this year; the best news is that he’s a free agent this year. The sad news is that the Islanders have minimal cap space and have to resign Mat Barzal, Ryan Pulock, and Devon Toews. The Islanders need to dump off some salary before even re-signing said, key players. General manager Lou Lamoriello always has something up his sleeve, so this signing is possible. What could the Islanders do to sign Mike Hoffman?
“What’s an amnesty buyout?” says everyone, including me. An amnesty buyout permits NHL teams to cut players without their contracts counting against the salary cap. The catch is that those players have to be paid 2/3’s of their salary over twice the length of time left on their deal. With the salary cap not improving this year due to COVID-19, the Islanders will have to cut some of their players. The first person that comes to mind is Andrew Ladd. A total dud of a signing who never stayed healthy, and never produced enough. That’s $6 million off the books. Buyout Johnny Boychuk too – there’s no reason to keep him with Noah Dobson around. The Islanders have just cleared $11.5 million dollars to sign players. Assuming Barzal, Pulock, and Toews equal 18 million dollars total, the Islanders have $3 million left.
Andrew Ladd has no trade value; the same goes for Johnny Boychuk. But, you know what every contending team needs right now? A veteran who can play the penalty kill, who can also deliver the hits. Leo Komarov is the player I’m referring to. Komarov might not have immense value, but the Islanders can easily dump him off for a 6th round pick. That’s another $3 million to work with. Thomas Hickey is buried in the AHL right now, so the Islanders might be able to get a 3rd or 4th round pick for him. Another $2.5 million comes off the books giving the Islanders at least $8.5 million to work with.
Andy Greene, Thomas Greiss, Derick Brassard, Matt Martin, and Thomas Kuhnhackl are notable UFA’s this year. I’m assuming that none of them get re-signed. This isn’t due to their play, Greene has been sensational as of late. Martin, Kuhnhackl, Brassard, and Greiss are all great rotational players too. But, there just isn’t enough room for them on the roster anymore. Noah Dobson, Ilya Sorokin, Kieffer Bellows, Ross Johnston, and Oliver Wahlstrom are all ready to play. This would take approximately $11 million off the books.
If all of this does happen, here are my 2020-2021 lineups:
Mike Hoffman-Mat Barzal-Anthony Beauvillier
Anders Lee-Brock Nelson-Jordan Eberle
Josh Bailey-JG Pageau-Kieffer Bellows
Ross Johnston-Casey Cizikas-Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech-Ryan Pulock
Devon Toews-Scott Mayfield
Nick Leddy-Noah Dobson