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Free Agency

Mathew Barzal Contract Still Hanging Over Isles Even After Boychuk Ends Career

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Mathew Barzal
Mathew Barzal skates across center ice during a game between the San Jose Sharks and the Islanders. Photo Credit: David Hahn/Icon Sportswire

If anyone had been hoping the news of Johnny Boychuk’s career coming to an end would mean a new contract for Mathew Barzal shortly after, they have been sorely disappointed.

Nearly two weeks removed from the day the New York Islanders announced that Boychuk’s NHL career had come to an end — and subsequently, they would be getting a reprieve from his $6 million cap hit — there has been no movement on a new deal for Barzal. The Islanders’ star forward is a restricted free agent and due a pay raise after three successful years on Long Island.

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The additional $6 million for the cap crunched Isles will either come in the form of Boychuk retiring or the team putting him on LTIR. Should the Islanders place Boychuk on LTIR, then they would be allowed to utilize the $6 million cap hit regardless if it took them above the salary cap.

When Boychuk spoke to reporters the day before Thanksgiving he was not sure if he was officially retiring or being placed on LTIR.

Johnny Boychuk’s Career Ends Due to Eye Injury

The expectation from NYI Hockey Now, along with other media outlets, is that Barzal will receive a new deal in the $7 million per year range when all is said and done. The Islanders are also likely to sign free agent goaltender Corey Schneider and re-sign Matt Martin and Andy Greene.

Even though the Islanders have managed to clear some more cap space with Boychuk stepping aside a few weeks back, they will still be under a bit of a crunch. There is a thought that the Islanders would also place Andrew Ladd on LTIR as well at some point.

Ladd has three years left on his contract and comes with a $5.5 million cap hit. Isles general manager Lou Lamoriello tried to trade Ladd at the trade deadline last season, but the financial makeup of the deal became too complicated between the Islanders and Minnesota Wild.

What has become clearer as the days and weeks have gone by is that a deal between the Islanders and Barzal isn’t likely coming until the NHL and NHL Players Association come to an agreement and set a start date for the 2020-21 season. As NYI Hockey Now has reported that process has become a bit more tenuous, but there may have been some strides in the right direction recently.

For now, it appears, the waiting will continue to see when and what the Islanders and Barzal’s camp can work out for a new contract.

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Free Agency

‘I love it on the Island,’ Mathew Barzal Puts to Bed Thought He’d Want to Play Elsewhere | NYHN+

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Mathew Barzal

It was as if Mathew Barzal was answering all of the naysayers directly on Saturday afternoon after news broke that he had signed a three-year, $21 million contract extension with the New York Islanders.

As the days went on and Barzal remained unsigned, many wondered what the hold up had been. What was taking so long? Former NHLer and Spittin’ Chicklets co-host Paul Bissonette even suggested Barzal hold out for “as long as possible” and that he didn’t think Barzal was having fun playing in Barry Trotz’s system.

That didn’t sit well with Islanders fans.

But Barzal put all of that to rest when he spoke on Saturday, expressing his love for Long Island and reiterating his excitement to be an Islander.

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Free Agency

SIGNED! Islanders, Mathew Barzal Agree on 3-Year Bridge Deal

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Mathew Barzal of the New York Islanders

The long wait is over for fans, the New York Islanders, and Mathew Barzal.

The team and Barzal agreed to a new three-year contract on Saturday, per the Fourth Period’s Dave Pagnotta, who delivered the news.

Mathew Barzal’s three-year deal carries a $7 million AAV, according to PuckPedia. TSN’s Darren Dreger reported that Mathew Barzal will be paid $4 million in the first year, $7 million in the second year and $10 million in the final year of the contract.

The news is a welcomed relief to Islanders fans who had been waiting with bated breath after weeks of negotiations between the two sides. Training camp opened earlier this week without the Islanders’ star player on the ice.

However, his absence didn’t concern teammates, who expressed confidence that a deal would be worked out in short order.

Barzal was on the ice for the first time with his teammates on Saturday morning, just after news of the new contract had broke. Making up for lost time, Barzal scored twice in the Islanders’ third scrimmage of training camp, Andrew Gross reported.

Part of the holdup for the deal had been the Islanders’ complicated financial situation. General manager Lou Lamoriello had reportedly been working to try and move some pieces to free up more cap space.

The Islanders had been working with $3.09 million in free cap space.

With Mathew Barzal now agreed to a new deal, the Islanders are now $3.09 million projected over the salary cap with a 21-man roster and Johnny Boychuk’s $6 million cap hit, according to PuckPedia.

The Islanders could still make a move before Tuesday when they need to become cap compliant to start the season.

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Free Agency

CLOCK IS TICKING! Mathew Barzal Remains Unsigned as Training Camp Nears

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Mathew Barzal of the New York Islanders

There wasn’t much in the way of an update on where things stand with Mathew Barzal on Thursday when Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello spoke with reporters.

Lamoriello had no update on the Islanders star player, who remains unsigned just days away from the start of training camp. However, Barzal is on Long Island quarantining for the start of camp on Sunday.

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“We will certainly work at this with the hope to have him on the first day of training camp,” Lamoriello said on a Zoom call.

Talks between the Islanders and Mathew Barzal have appeared to be in a holding pattern since the season ended in September. Things between the two sides have picked up recently, but hockey insider Darren Dreger reported on Thursday that a deal was not close.

As the days have inched closer to the start of the season, concern has started to rise among the fanbase. And the Islanders are now in a situation where Barzal may not be on the ice for the start of camp.

Lamoriello wouldn’t even contemplate that thought when asked about it on Thursday.

“We still have a few days until training camp, so I don’t want to get into any hypotheticals,” Lamoriello responded. “It is our intention and his intention to be there and hopefully that will happen.”

Lou Speaks: Ho-Sang Snub, UFAs and Barzal Drama

The expectation is that Mathew Barzal will get a bridge deal in the neighborhood of two or three years worth around $7 million per year. Earlier on Thursday, fellow restricted free agent, Pierre-Luc Dubois signed a two-year, $10 million extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Islanders have been in a bit of a cap crunch since the offseason began. They currently have $3.9 million in cap space, but with Johnny Boychuk ending his career in November, the Islanders will get a bit more cap space to work with.

The Islanders could make an additional maneuver to free up some more cap space before the season begins.

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