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Free Agency

Would Mathew Barzal Take a ‘Team Friendly’ Deal?

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Mathew Barzal

The wait continues…

No, not for the Presidential Election results, but for any sort of resolution between the New York Islanders and Mathew Barzal. The Islanders star player is the only restricted free agent left that general manager Lou Lamoriello needs to re-sign.

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On Wednesday, Ryan Pulock spoke with reporters after he signed his new two-year contract extension and was asked if he had communicated at all with Barzal during the RFA process. The Islanders defenseman indicated that they had and suggested that both players wanted to work out deals that made sense for all parties.

“We both obviously want to make it work so that we can keep everyone together and I think that’s the main goal,” Pulock said.  “We want to win together, we want to keep this team together. I think we’ve talked a little bit, but his business side of it is his doing.”

Those words have sent some reassurance to Islanders fans that Barzal indeed wants to remain a member of the organization. Considering the success that the team has had over the last two seasons under Barry Trotz, that shouldn’t be too surprising, but Islanders fans are still shaking off years of misery so they still remain a bit cagy.

Mathew Barzal Contract Looms Even Larger Over Islanders with Pulock Signed

Pulock’s comments also have suggested to some that Barzal would be willing to take a discounted deal in order to keep everyone together. The deal that Pulock signed was a shorter-term deal at $10 million over two years, but came in financially around what Pulock likely would have gotten from an arbitrator.

And Pulock will become an unrestricted free agent at a point when the league’s and Islanders’ financial situation is in a better spot and the flat salary cap of $81.5 million has risen.

While Barzal won’t necessarily be taking a “team-friendly deal” the talented forward and his agent are more than aware of the financial circumstances of the NHL at the moment. Barzal will likely see somewhere in the neighborhood of $7 million, but could they be willing to come down a little with the prospect of a larger payday down the line in two or three years?

That would make sense for both sides, especially if Barzal wants to help the Islanders keep the core of the team together, and could be what plays out when all is said and done.

The NHL is targeting Jan. 1 as a start date for the season, but the situation remains fluid and Lamoriello still has time. Eventually, though, something will have to get done.

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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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