December 15 2015 07:00AM
I wrote yesterday about how Garth Snow has a few difficult decisions approaching him on the horizon. We all know that Travis Hamonic has requested to be traded so that he can be closer to his family in Western Canada, but the Islanders also have a handful of key players with contracts set to expire in July. Both Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen, who happen to sit first and third respectively in scoring on the team, are set to hit the open market this summer, and it’s very clear that both will be demanding an upgrade from their modest salaries.
Okposo is in the midst of arguably the best season of his professional career. He’s playing on John Tavares’ wing in generally offensive situations and he’s responded by scoring eight goals, 18 assists, and managing a 50.6 Corsi For percentage at even strength through 31 games. What can Okposo expect to earn on the open market? And will the Islanders be able (and willing) to give it to him?
December 14 2015 08:00AM
Remember a few years ago when the New York Islanders dealt Matt Moulson and a first and second round pick in either 2014 or 2015 to the Buffalo Sabres for soon-to-be UFA Thomas Vanek? Then a few months later they traded him to Montreal for Sebastien Collberg and second round pick? That was awful. It was like, Alexei Yashin trade/contract/buyout bad. It looked like they gave away a lottery pick and Moulson for 47 games of Vanek, and a couple of throw-ins. Garth Snow opted to give Buffalo the first round pick in 2015 rather than 2014, giving him one summer to turn the franchise around, otherwise his team would be on the losing end of a horrible trade.
Jaroslav Halak, Mikhail Grabovski, and Nikolai Kulemin were signed as free agents, Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy were acquired through trade, and the team did a complete 180, going from eighth in the Metropolitan Division to third in just one year. This season, the Islanders are one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference and appear to be one their way to establishing themselves as legit Cup contender. That said, a trade request from travis Hamonic and two key impending free agents will make 2016 another interesting summer for Snow.
December 11 2015 07:30AM
By now, we all know that this summer’s free agent crop is absolutely loaded with talent. In fact, it might actually be the best group of players to hit the open market at the same time since the NHL implemented the salary cap back in 2005. But what about the 2017 UFA class? While next, next summer’s group doesn’t boast names like Steven Stamkos and Anze Kopitar, there are still a handful of franchise changing players who could possibly become free agents.
Like Brent Burns, for example, who, aside from owning arguably the best beard in hockey, has cemented himself as one of the league’s elite offensive defencemen over the past few seasons. Since the beginning of the 2013 lockout season, Erik Karlsson and P.K. Subban are the only defencemen in the NHL who have scored more points than Burns has, and this season, nobody in the league has produced more individual shot attempts.
So, what will Burns command if he hits the open market? And are the Sharks going to be able to afford it?
Nation World HQ
December 11 2015 06:30AM
Leafs fans still think Stamkos is coming, Oilers and Flames both heating up, a look back at the Evander Kane trade, Prust happy with fine for spear on Marchand, NHL expansion, 2016 draft lottery and salary cap, a big left hand, fantasy hockey and more in this week's Nation Roundup brought to you by DraftKings
December 09 2015 04:55PM
A couple of days ago at the league’s Board of Governors Meeting, Commissioner Gary Bettman said that the NHL’s salary cap could go up by roughly $3 million next season. He also went on to say that this was a “very, very, very rough projection” and that next year’s cap will “depend on a variety of different factors” like the strength of the Canadian dollar and the revenue the league can generate. It’s important to remember that this time last year, Bettman suggested that the cap for the 2015-16 season would be around $73 million, but as we know, it ended up being less than that.
If this is the case, and everything goes according to plan, we’ll be looking at somewhere around a $74.5 million salary cap ceiling for the 2016-17 season, which could be interesting as we head into a summer that boasts one of the best free agent classes of recent memory.