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Lamoriello ‘Not Dissapointed’, Sources Dish on Kadri

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Nazem Kadri, New York Islanders

New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello spoke to the media on Monday to discuss the offseason, and despite not landing a top free agent, he was anything but disappointed.

“We hear the word ‘disappointing,’ I wonder what that is because free agents have to make decisions, and also teams have to make decisions,” Lamoriello said. “And if you’re interested in the player or players, it has to be the right fit, cap fit. It has to be the right role fit.

“There’s no disappointment where we’re at because we feel very good about who we are, or we would have made drastic changes.”

New York may have never been able to offer Johnny Gaudreau the contract he was looking for. But for Nazem Kadri, the Islanders were heavily involved.

Per a league source, all the rumors around Nazem Kadri coming to the New York Islanders were true. But it got to a point where Kadri and his camp lost patience with Lamoriello.

Lamoriello and Kadri’s camp were heavily active with one another. However, nothing could officially be done until the  Islanders made the necessary cap space to bring Kadri on.

New York had over $11 million in cap space, per CapFriendly ($10.4 million with Robin Salo’s contract). So why couldn’t the Islanders fit Kadri’s $7 million cap hit?

Last week, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman shared on NHL Network that he believed the contracts of RFAs Noah Dobson and Alexander Romanov were already done, just not officially filed.

And on Monday, New York announced three signings in Dobson, Romanov, and Kieffer Bellows, which totaled $7.7 million.

FURTHER ANALYSIS: New York Islanders Sign RFAs Dobson, Romanov & Bellows

With those contracts, there was not enough room for Kadri unless Lamoriello made some, which he tried to do.

“We looked at many different options. Unfortunately, the options that we looked at to make a trade, we would not have gotten in return, or what we had to give up, to make us, in my opinion, a better team,” Lamoriello added. “And I’m actually really excited about the group we have right now going into the season.

“But if we could have gotten better, we would have done that. That’s no different than throughout the season. But it’s the price you have to pay to do something to upgrade in one position.”

How much money needed to be moved is not known at this time, but the contracts of Josh Bailey ($5 million AAV) and Anthony Beauvillier ($4.15 million) were being shopped, but moving only one of them, for the deals that the RFAs did receive, would not have been enough.

The Islanders would have had to clear a little under $5 million for Kadri. And with no leverage on the open market, Lamoriello was right; the cost likely outweighed bringing Kadri aboard.

Plus, the asking price to move players to clear cap space was rather high, and New York elected not to jeopardize their future to get it done, which does make a good amount of sense.

READ MORE ON NYIHN: Should New York Islanders Have Stood Pat After Missing Out On Kadri?

Per the source, Kadri and his agent wanted Lamoriello to get his cap situation figured out a few weeks ago. However, Lamoriello is never one to be rushed, and he told Kadri’s camp to wait.

The Calgary Flames were always a team interested in Kadri from the start of free agency. And once Kadri’s camp knew that the Flames were going to deal a contract to fit him, he took his talents to Alberta.

Kadri signed the exact same contract with the Flames that New York reportedly offered him: 7×7.

Coming off a career year, Kadri needed to cash in, especially long-term. The longer Kadri waited, the more likely teams like Calgary would look elsewhere for upgrades. And, with training camp looming, the 32-year-old may have gotten to a point where he would have to sign a short-term deal for a lower price.

This summer was the first time Kadri has ever hit free agency. And who knows if (1) he will ever hit free agency again and (2) if he will have another year like this past one, which will allow him to cash in yet again.

As we have seen, Lamoriello does things the way he wants. And sometimes, that thought process has consequences.

Was Kadri the best fit for the Islanders? No. Still, there’s no question he would have helped the offense.

NYIHN TAKES: How New York Islanders Can Weaponize Their Cap Space

Many fans believe that New York dodged a bullet by missing out on Kadri given the term.

Ultimately, as we see in hockey and sports in general, sometimes the best deals are the ones you don’t make.

The Islanders have around $2.36 million in cap space to work with if they wanted to add a piece or two before camp. However, they are at max capacity roster-wise.

Richard Panik is on the active roster, with his $1.375 million cap hit, just an FYI. Islanders buried his contract last season as he played in the AHL. He’d be the first one sent down if a player was brought in.

The more likely situation is that Lamoriello lets that money accrue. And, as the season goes on, cap space will be an asset come the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline.

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