After prioritizing retaining their own free agents, the New York Islanders are shifting their focus towards bringing in outside help that can supplement their current core via trade.
“We’ve signed the free agents with the dollars that we had available,” said Islanders’ president of hockey operations and general manager Lou Lamoriello. “Now, to get better, as everyone tries to do, it’ll be a hockey trade, and I think you will find that to be a similar situation throughout the National Hockey League.”
The Islanders have already been tied to one of the top names available on the market. First reported by Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, the Islanders are trying to swing a deal with the Ottawa Senators for Alex DeBrincat.
A former second-round draft pick in 2016, DeBrincat, 25, has already posted two 40-plus goals seasons in his six-year career. Last season, after being traded from the Chicago Blackhawks, DeBrincat scored 66 points with 27 goals during his first year in Ottawa. DeBrincat is a restricted free agent this summer, and his contract is arbitration eligible. Less than a month ago, DeBrincat declined an eight-year contract extension from the Senators, and the team has been trying to trade him ever since.
If the Islanders are going to swing such a massive deal, they’ll need to expand the cap space they have available. According to Puck Pedia, the Islanders have just $1.08 million left to spend following their moves on Saturday. However, some of that money will be needed to re-sign restricted free agent Oliver Wahlstrom and possibly Zach Parise, who Lamoriello said will have a place on the team if he desires.
According to Garrioch, Ottawa general manager Pierre Dorion confirmed on Saturday that he has granted DeBrincat’s agent, Jeff Jackson, permission to speak with other teams who may be more willing to give the forward the type of deal he’s seeking. Along with the Islanders, the Washington Capitals, Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators are all believed to be in the mix for DeBrincat.