#Isles Transactions: The New York Islanders have signed forward Julien Gauthier to a two-year contract and forwards Karson Kuhlman and Brian Pinho to one-year, two-way contracts.
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) July 5, 2023
Gauthier, 25, appeared in 57 games last season for the Rangers and Ottawa Senators and is signing with the Islanders for $787,500 annually for two years. A former first-round draft pick in 2016, Gauthier hasn’t lived up to that potential during his four seasons in the NHL, totaling 32 points in 153 career games. With his new contract being a one-way deal, he will likely serve as a healthy scratch most nights for the Islanders while filling in on the bottom six.
As with Gauthier, Kuhlman and Pinho will fill out the back half of the Islanders’ roster. Both forwards have signed two-way contracts and will spend most of the season in Bridgeport, awaiting a call-up. Kuhlman played 47 games last year with the Winnipeg Jets, scoring seven points. Pinho has spent most of his professional career in the minors, playing in the Capitals’ and Devils’ systems. He has not played in an NHL game since January 2021.
While none of these additions will turn the Islanders into Stanley Cup favorites, they fix an issue that wasn’t often mentioned in 2022. Last season, the Islanders had little depth in their organization. On a few occasions, young prospects from Bridgeport were asked to fill major holes in the lineup when they probably weren’t ready. However, the three additions have eaten up what little cap space the Islanders already had, leaving the team with just $387,500, according to CapFriendly.
With Oliver Wahlstrom still a restricted free agent and Zach Parise’s status for next year still unknown, Islanders President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Lou Lamoriello will need to clear space if he intends to bring back either forward. Not to mention, if the Islanders are indeed pursuing a trade with the Senators for Alex DeBrincat, the potential cap casualties will be significant.