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Keeping the Band Together: Islanders extend all of Sorokin, Varlamov, Engvall, and Mayfield

Their deals are pretty long, and they’re making a lot of money. But it’s nice to have Sorokin locked in.

Anaheim Ducks v New York Islanders
Plenty of these moments going forward.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The New York Islanders have re-signed three of their unrestricted free agents and extended their franchise goalie on the first day he was eligible.

The best news: Ilya Sorokin signed an eight-year contract extension that starts in the 2024-25 season. He has one year remaining on his current contract with a $4 million cap hit. His new deal carries an $8.25 million cap hit, and he has a full no-move clause for the first four years of the extension, followed by a 16-team modified no-trade clause in the back half. He’s not going anywhere.

But neither is anyone else! 27-year-old forward Pierre Engvall and 30-year-old defenseman Scott Mayfield both got seven-year extensions; Engvall counts $3 million against the cap, while Mayfield counts $3.5 million. 35-year-old goalie Semyon Varlamov got a four-year deal with a $2.75 million AAV.

Those three got some pretty large contracts. The Isles didn’t exactly get discounts on AAV for the length, either.

I don’t know if other teams were bidding similar total dollars over fewer years and this was the only way to retain them. But I’m not sure that I would have made that Mayfield deal, and I love the guy. However, he plays the kind of game that doesn’t always age well. Engvall is at least only 27 and plays a game that is less likely to cause him to break down. Not to mention, he had great chemistry with Brock Nelson and Kyle Palmieri when he came over at the deadline. Varlamov and Sorokin are buddies, which can’t be understated, but this deal takes him to his age-38 season.

On the other hand, the cap is supposed to go up significantly in the next year or two. It looks like a lot of cap allocation right now, but Frank Seravalli has said that in two years, the cap should be $10 million higher than it is this season. They’ll have more cap space to improve the rest of the roster going forward.

Maybe even this summer. Lou started speaking with the media at 5:15 p.m.—which would indicate, to me at least, that he’s probably done signing free agents, at least for today—and said that he will look to make “hockey trades.”

Throughout the day, there have been whispers of a potential trade with the Ottawa Senators that would bring Alex DeBrincat to Long Island with J-G Pageau being part of the package going back the other way.

Pageau has a modified no-trade clause, but he was born in Ottawa and grew up across the river in Hull, Quebec. The Sens were his hometown team, and they drafted him. His entire NHL career, besides his time with the Islanders, has been with them. One could see how he might be willing to waive his no-trade to go there. I wonder who or what else would go back to Ottawa and if another team were to get involved if it came to fruition.

In the spirit of keeping the band together, Lou also said that there’s still a spot for Zach Parise on this team if he wants to come back, and he thinks he’ll have an answer to that question soon. I don’t think it’s particularly likely that he hits 20 goals again, but you can sign me up if he can bring 13-15 goals in a bottom-six role for the league minimum knowing he’s bringing his ‘A’ game every night.

We’ll see what the next few days, or perhaps weeks or months, have in store.