QUEENS, N.Y. — If anyone was wondering how involved New York Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky was in the contract talks between the team and star forward Mathew Barzal, he tried to make that abundantly clear on Monday.
“Lou Lamoriello, talk to him,” Ledecky said playfully when asked about the status of negotiations on Monday at an event at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. “He’s our hockey guy and he runs hockey. When you have the best general manager and president who is in the hall of fame, you listen to the hall of fame guy.”
Mathew Barzal is the Islanders’ last remaining restricted free agent that they still need to re-sign. The 23-year-old is expected to receive a two or three-year deal worth somewhere around $7 million, but part of the hold-up has been the Islanders’ current cap crunch.
As of now the Islanders only have $3.9 million in available cap space, however, that is expected to change once Johnny Boychuk is either placed on LTIR or retires. The Islanders could also make further roster moves to free up cap space.
Barzal’s agent J.P. Barry has been in constant contact with Lamoriello since the season ended in September and they will resume talks this week, Barry told The Athletic.
While Ledecky has an understandable interest in seeing Barzal re-signed by the Islanders, the co-owner credits having Lamoriello and head coach Barry Trotz at the helm as a way to keep him in check from getting involved.
“When you have the equivalent of two Secretariats working to try to win the Stanely Cup you stay the heck out of the way,” Ledecky told NYI Hockey Now. “That’s the best thing I can do as an owner and as fans, we need to continue to support Lou and Barry, because quite frankly they’re doing a great job. We had an incredible run last year and our goal is to compete for the Stanley Cup each and every season.
“Lou and Barry understand that goal and that’s the same goal they want. There’s complete alignment.”
Barzal recorded 60 points (19 goals, 41 assists) in 68 games last season and he has led the Islanders in points in each of the last three seasons. Barzal has until Feb. 11 to sign a new deal to remain eligible to play in the COVID-19 shortened campaign this year.