There wasn’t much in the way of an update on where things stand with Mathew Barzal on Thursday when Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello spoke with reporters.
Lamoriello had no update on the Islanders star player, who remains unsigned just days away from the start of training camp. However, Barzal is on Long Island quarantining for the start of camp on Sunday.
“We will certainly work at this with the hope to have him on the first day of training camp,” Lamoriello said on a Zoom call.
Talks between the Islanders and Mathew Barzal have appeared to be in a holding pattern since the season ended in September. Things between the two sides have picked up recently, but hockey insider Darren Dreger reported on Thursday that a deal was not close.
As the days have inched closer to the start of the season, concern has started to rise among the fanbase. And the Islanders are now in a situation where Barzal may not be on the ice for the start of camp.
Lamoriello wouldn’t even contemplate that thought when asked about it on Thursday.
“We still have a few days until training camp, so I don’t want to get into any hypotheticals,” Lamoriello responded. “It is our intention and his intention to be there and hopefully that will happen.”
The expectation is that Mathew Barzal will get a bridge deal in the neighborhood of two or three years worth around $7 million per year. Earlier on Thursday, fellow restricted free agent, Pierre-Luc Dubois signed a two-year, $10 million extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Islanders have been in a bit of a cap crunch since the offseason began. They currently have $3.9 million in cap space, but with Johnny Boychuk ending his career in November, the Islanders will get a bit more cap space to work with.
The Islanders could make an additional maneuver to free up some more cap space before the season begins.