In the few times that New York Islanders President and General Manager Lou Lamoriello has spoken this offseason, one thing was clear: he wanted to retain the team’s marquee free agents and build around the core that’s already in place.
Engvall, Mayfield and Varlamov were all unrestricted free agents this offseason, but extending Sorokin is undoubtedly the biggest move of the bunch.
A year out from his own free agency after being named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy in 2022-23, Sorokin signed an eight-year contract extension worth $8.25 million per year that will kick in at the start of the 2024-25 season. Sorokin was the spine of the team last year, carrying the Islanders to a postseason appearance while posting a .924 save percentage in 62 starts. At 27 years old, this new extension takes Sorokin through his age-34 season and comes with a no-movent clause during its first four years and a modified no-movement clause in its back half.
To backup Sorokin, the Islanders bring back Varlamov on a four-year deal worth $2.75 million per season. With Sorokin’s emergence as one of the game’s elites between the pipes, Varlamov saw his role decrease with the Islanders last season, starting in just 22 games. However, that never appeared to be a problem for the veteran, who assimilated into his new role and showed interest in staying with the Islanders even though other destinations could’ve provided him with more playing time.
While it’s unclear how many suitors Varlamov had, it’s believed that Mayfield had multiple teams vying for his services. As one of the few true throwback defensemen available this offseason, Mayfield had the opportunity to cash in this summer but instead returns to the only team he’s ever played for. He and Engvall are back on seven-year deals, with Mayfield making $3.5 million a season and Engvall earning $3 million annually.
The Islanders are estimated to be left with just a little over $1 million in cap space following the moves. However, Lamoriello says he will now turn his focus to the trade market in search of a ” hockey trade,” and did not rule out the possibility of re-signing veteran winger Zach Parise either.