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New York Islanders News: Free agency kicks off with much work to do

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Lou Lamoriello hopes to keep the band together, but three key RFAs make things tricky.

Edmonton Oilers v New York Islanders
There’s enough money for everybody. Maybe.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Free agency opens in the NHL today, and the Islanders are in a long-forecasted tight spot. In addition to having three prime (and surely expensive) restricted free agents to re-sign in Mathew Barzal, Ryan Pulock and Devon Toews, they have a trio of beloved but ultimately low-priority UFAs hitting the market in Matt Martin, Andy Greene and Derick Brassard.

The RFAs can wait, to an extent (though there is the outside risk of an offer sheet turning up the heat), but ultimately the Islanders will need to shed either talent or future assets — or both — to create the needed cap room.

Meanwhile, tons of action already happening around the league this week and last night, with big players hitting UFA (Taylor Hall, Alex Pietrangelo, Corey Crawford) and significant players about to be traded.

Islanders News

  • I know there’s an underlying “In Lou We Trust” vibe, but the flat cap and the pre-existing cap issue definitely makes this a challenge for Lou Lamoriello: “We’re in the same position we were, as far as our intentions are. Whatever we have to get done, hopefully we will.” [Athletic]
  • Arthur Staple looks at who the Isles might target. [Isles]
  • On (yester)day in History: Brent Sutter was named Isles captain. [Isles]
  • If the Islanders could find a way to fit Patrik Laine, do you do it? [THW]
  • Five UFAs who are intriguing the Islanders should absolutely want no part of. [Drive4Five]
  • The Islanders (and Oak View Group) have been doing some #NewArena PR, so check out these snazzy shots in Newsday, which reports on it “prioritizing mobile technology,” plus more from a walk-through from the Post.

Elsewhere

  • Jets beat writer says expect a Paul Stastny trade back to the Winnipeg.
  • The Blues and Alex Pietrangelo did not reach agreement on a deal (but will “stay in contact”), so there’s your top available UFA blueliner, barring significant movement this morning. [Athletic]
  • The Blackhawks are letting Crawford walk, and expect to sign Malcolm Subban after not qualifying him. [LeBrun]
  • Sooo many goalies out there, the Devils are waiving Cory Schneider for the purpose of a buyout. [TSN | All About The Jersey]
  • They also acquired the last year of oft-injured Ryan Murray from the Blue Jackets. [Sportsnet | NHL | AATJ] And they’re buying out Alexander Wennberg. [Jackets Cannon]
  • The Canadiens agreed to a...I’m sorry, what?...a 7-year, $5.5M AAV deal with newly acquired Josh Anderson. [TSN | NHL]
  • The flat cap doesn’t just effect UFAs...it has forced a lot of RFAs, who would normally be qualified, into UFA territory. [TSN]
  • Not all of them though! Zemgus Girgensons (bless you) re-signs in Buffalo for three years, $2.2M AAV. [Sportsnet]
  • Erik Gudbranson finds yet another new home, traded by Anaheim to the Senators. [Sportsnet | Silver Seven]
  • [Wayback retro note: I still remember when we picked Gudbranson in the 2010 Mock Draft]
  • Justin Williams has retired. [Canes Country]
  • Tuukka Rask wants to remain a Bruin and hints he wouldn’t report if traded. [Boston Herald]
  • Lots of new draftees with NHL bloodlines. [NHL]
  • Matt Murray is ready for a fresh start in Ottawa. [TSN]