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Free Agency

The Case for the New York Islanders to Sign Anthony Duclair

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Anthony Duclair

The New York Islanders don’t have a lot of cap space and for them to make any significant free agent signings they would need to move some of their more expensive contracts to other teams. That being said once the Islanders do clear some cap space and re-sign restricted free agents Mathew Barzal and Ryan Pulock, there could still be some intriguing options on the market.

One of the most appealing would be free agent forward Anthony Duclair.

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The 25-year-old was allowed to become an unrestricted free agent after the Ottawa Senators opted not to tender him a qualifying offer earlier this October The two sides failed to reach an agreement after Duclair decided to represent himself in negotiations.

“I don’t really want to get into the specifics of the negotiations,” Dorion told Ottawa Media at the time. “All I will say on this was that Anthony chose to represent himself. We told him from Day 1 that it’s not easy to represent yourself. We offered him a substantial raise over what he made last year and it’s unfortunate we couldn’t come to a contract agreement.

“We don’t close the door on anything, but he will explore unrestricted free agency.”

Since then Duclair has remained unsigned. There have been a few teams that have shown some interest, but nearly into the start of November he remains on the open market.

This bodes well for the Islanders, who could benefit from Duclair’s scoring touch that could come at a more reasonable rate as the days and months go on. As we’ve seen with other players like Taylor Hall, Duclair could be amenable to sign a one-year deal at a rate somewhere around $1 million or $2 million as a way to showcase what he could bring to the Islanders or another team on a longer deal.

With 23 goals and 17 assists in 66 games with Ottawa last season, Duclair could be a versatile option for the Islanders. He has the ability to slot well on New York’s third line alongside former Ottawa teammate Jean-Gabriel Pageau, especially if the Islanders trade Leo Komarov or don’t resign Derick Brassard.

Duclair could complement the line and bring an added scoring touch to the bottom six of the Islanders lineup. He could also be utilized in a top-six role if head coach Barry Trotz wanted to give him a chance on a line with Barzal or on the second line.

He does have some defensive liabilities in his game, but considering the success of Trotz’s defensive style, that issue could be rectified on Long Island.

The Islanders have a lot to sort out before they can look at a player like Duclair. Barzal is the team’s most important piece that they need to take care of, followed very closely by Pulock. Deals for Andy Greene, Matt Martin and Derick Brassard are also being worked on or have already been worked out.

The same goes for veteran goaltender Cory Schneider, but Duclair should be a player that Lou Lamoriello and the Islanders keep in mind once those items are taken care of.

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[…] • Pourquoi les insulaires devraient tenter leur chance Anthony Duclair. [NY Hockey Now] […]

[…] • Why the Islanders ought to take an opportunity on Anthony Duclair. [NY Hockey Now] […]

[…] • Why the Islanders should take a chance on Anthony Duclair. [NY Hockey Now] […]

[…] Christian Arnold of NYI Hockey Now: The New York Islanders don’t really have much salary cap space to dip into the free agent market as they still need to re-sign restricted free agents in Mathew Barzal and Ryan Pulock. […]

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[…] When it comes to Anthony Duclair, I wouldn’t touch him with a 10-meter cattle prod (bonus points if you get that reference). But Christian Arnold says the Islanders should make it happen. (NYI Hockey Now) […]

[…] Christian Arnold of NYI Hockey Now: The New York Islanders don’t really have much salary cap space to dip into the free agent market as they still need to re-sign restricted free agents in Mathew Barzal and Ryan Pulock. […]

[…] • Why the Islanders should take a chance on Anthony Duclair. [NY Hockey Now] […]

[…] Christian Arnold of NYI Hockey Now: The New York Islanders don’t really have much salary cap space to dip into the free agent market as they still need to re-sign restricted free agents in Mathew Barzal and Ryan Pulock. […]

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.

Welcome to your new home for New York Islanders breaking news, analysis and opinion. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and don't forget to subscribe to NYHN+ for all of our members-only content from Christian Arnold and the National Hockey Now network.
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