Scott Mayfield may not be the most skilled player on the New York Islanders, but he’s never had to be, either. By blocking countless shots and battling tirelessly in front of the net, the gritty defenseman has asserted himself as a regular in the lineup over his nine seasons with the team.
Mayfield is coming off his best season yet in 2022-23, playing in all 82 regular season games for the first time and tallying a career-high 24 points. Through it all, though, Mayfield couldn’t help but think about his impending free agency this summer.
“Obviously, it’s on my mind,” Mayfield said on May 1. “I’ve never been in this position, so it’s new to me. The whole season was kind of new to me without the long-term security for years after…it’s always in your mind.”
Mayfield has been with the Islanders since being selected out of the University of Denver in the second round of the 2011 draft. Now, it’s strange to think of not playing for them after twelve years in the organization.
“It’s something I don’t really want to think about that much,” Mayfield said. “There’s a lot of things that happened here. I’m married and settled down here, so there’s been a lot of good times. I think about the time with the guys, it’s a special group and a special place to play. It’s kind of weird if there isn’t something [here].”
Even for his teammates, the idea of Mayfield not returning to the Islanders is hard to process.
“There’s always that concern [when] you play with a guy for that long,” said Ryan Pulock when asked if he was worried about Mayfield not coming back. “When you’re a free agent, and you don’t have a contract at this time of year, anything can happen, right? It’s a business and something that he’s going to deal with this summer. Hopefully, at the end of the day, he’s back here.”
Although free agency is unfamiliar territory, Mayfield believes he’s earned the right to explore the open market and that his body of work makes him worthy of a new multi-year deal.
“The biggest thing for me is just proving to the organization and to other guys around the league that I could play here,” Mayfield said. “It’s  games later and another  playoff games, and I think I’ve proven that.”
While Mayfield has served the Islanders well, he can be an asset to plenty of other teams too. After all, it’s not easy to find a six-foot-five, 220-pound defenseman.
“I’ve been with him since I was 20 years old, so about eight years. He’s made incredible improvements in his game,” said Adam Pelech. “He’s become such an important player to our team and someone I think will be coveted around the league. So obviously, I’m hoping he comes back. I think everyone feels the same way.”