New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello was pretty clear in his objectives for the offseason first and foremost.
The primary goal for the Islanders is to bring back as many players as they can for next season. That task has become a lot easier for Lou Lamoriello, who managed to clear Nick Leddy and Andrew Ladd’s $5.5 million cap hits off the books in trades last weekend. The Islanders got another $5.5 million in relief on Wednesday when the Seattle Kraken selected Jordan Eberle, which now puts the Islanders at roughly $17 million in projected cap space.
“We were pleased we were able to get a little relief,” Lamoriello said during a conference call with reporters. “But we certainly have a lot of work to do. We still have to get our players signed that we have not got signed. That’s a work in process.”
The Islanders have key restricted free agents Adam Pelech, Anthony Beauvillier and Ilya Sorokin to lock into new contracts. Casey Cizikas needs a new deal or he would become an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday and there is interest in bringing back Kyle Palmieri.
Safe to say that Lamoriello has a pretty hefty to-do list to take care of. Monday marks the final day the Islanders have to submit qualifying offers to their RFAs.
Lamoriello wouldn’t say if there were any players that wouldn’t receive qualifying offers.
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) July 24, 2021
“We won’t make any final decisions until Monday morning,” Lamoriello said. “We’re meeting tomorrow and we’ll make those decisions.”
Michael Dal Colle, Kieffer Bellows, Dmytro Timashov, Otto Koivula, Anatoly Golyshev and Bobo Carpenter are also restricted free agents.
Pelech is sure to be the first priority among the RFA group and rightfully so. The 26-year-old defenseman is their top pairing blueliner along with Ryan Pulock and a crucial part of the Islanders’ success over the past three years.
Pelech’s new deal is looking like it could be in the $5 million per range, but it will depend on the length that the two sides agree upon. From there, the rest of the offseason plans will come into focus.
“We have restricted players that need to be re-signed and we have a couple of our own free agents that we have every intention of doing everything we can to sign,” Lamoriello said. “We needed the cap space to do that. As you know we’re still under a crunch from the last year and we had to operate very differently throughout the year. … Right now we’re just trying to do everything we can to get our people back.”