Just three days into free agency and the official start of the NHL offseason, there are few big name free agents left on the board for general managers looking to bolster their team. All the big name players like John Tavares, Paul Stastny and Mike Green signed during the opening hours of free agency, while James Neal and Joe Thornton waited until yesterday afternoon to ink their contracts.
The New York Islanders, of course have been the big losers of the NHL offseason so far, after witnessing their captain in Tavares sign a seven year deal with the rival Toronto Maple Leafs. In his place the Islanders have signed former Leafs veteran Leo Komarov and former Philadelphia Flyers center Valtteri Filppula. Ouch.
Still, if Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello is interested in exacting a little revenge against the Leafs, his own former team, while improving his team’s own roster, there are options. According to Sportsnet analyst and NHL insider Elliotte Friedman, there are sources around the league who believe that Lamoriello cold be preparing a restricted free agent (RFA) offer sheet for one of the Leafs’ young players.
Check out this quote from Friedman, dug up by FanRagSports’ Chris Nichols:
Friedman: “I had a general manager say to me yesterday… ‘I will bet you my house that the Islanders are going to offer-sheet someone in Toronto.’”
For what it’s worth, the Leafs currently have just one RFA, but he’s one that the Islanders, or any team for that matter, would have DEFINITE interest in acquiring: William Nylander.
The 22 year old Nylander is in line for a healthy raise from the entry level contract he signed three years ago, but it’s worth pointing out that the Islanders aren’t exactly in a great position to offersheet him away from the Leafs.
Check out this breakdown of the team’s options, courtesy of CapFriendly.com:
Currently NYI are only able to submit offer sheets that are less than $1,339,575 (no compensation) or greater than $10,148,303 (4x 1st round picks in compensation) because they don’t have their 2019 2nd or 3rd round picks.
So, while it seems like a good idea in theory… the Islanders would be forced to offer Nylander a contract of $10+ million per season which would cost them exactly four 1st round picks. Double ouch. That’s simply too steep a price for the Isles to pay, both in dollars and in assets. In other words: don’t count on any brilliant revenge move from Lamoriello for the Leafs’ Tavares signing.