Navigating the salary cap is one of the more important tasks for any GM. Teams that can avoid total cap chaos by walking the tightrope of inking players to deals that match their value (or compensate for future value without breaking the bank) remain successful. Those that don’t see struggles and front office changes.
PHR will look at every NHL team and give a thorough look at their cap situation heading into the 2021-22 season. This will focus more on players who are regulars on the roster versus those who may find themselves shuttling between the AHL and NHL. All cap figures are courtesy of CapFriendly.
New York Islanders
Current Cap Hit: $85,229,188 (over the $81.5MM Upper Limit)
D Noah Dobson (one year, $894K)
F Oliver Wahlstrom (two years, $894K)
Wahlstrom managed to play in 44 regular season games in his rookie campaign despite a whopping 26 assignments to the taxi squad last season. He established himself as a capable secondary scorer and didn’t look out of place in his first taste of playoff action either. Wahlstrom should have a similar role this season if he can overcome a quiet training camp and with New York’s cap situation, it’s unlikely that he will get a long-term deal and unless he cracks the top six, he may be in tough to earn much on the bonus front. A bridge deal that buys them short-term flexibility is expected.
The same can be said for Dobson who was a regular for most of his sophomore year. He is improving but is still likely to be more of a depth player than a core piece in 2021-22 which makes it unlikely that he’d be able to command the type of money to justify a long-term contract or hit most of those bonuses. He’ll be bridged as well.
One Year Remaining, Non-Entry-Level
D Sebastian Aho ($725K, RFA)
D Johnny Boychuk ($6MM, UFA)
D Zdeno Chara (terms undisclosed, UFA)
F Cal Clutterbuck ($3.5MM, UFA)
D Andy Greene ($750K, UFA)
D Thomas Hickey ($2.5MM, UFA)
F Ross Johnston ($1MM, UFA)
F Leo Komarov ($3MM, UFA)
F Zach Parise (terms undisclosed, UFA)
D Ryan Pulock ($5MM, UFA)
G Cory Schneider (terms undisclosed, UFA)
Let’s start with Chara and Parise. Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello has been quite secretive in contract disclosures so the full terms haven’t come out yet. The expectation is that they’re for the minimum of $750K with some performance bonuses but that hasn’t been confirmed. Schneider’s deal is also unknown but he played for the minimum last season on their taxi squad so it’s likely he signed for that as well. He may not play much – if at all – for the Isles this season but with Ilya Sorokin being waiver-exempt, sending him down and recalling Schneider to dip below their LTIR ACSL is a move we might see at times this season.