Restricted free agent Adam Pelech will have a new deal soon.
One way or the other.
The Islanders' top-pair defenseman had his arbitration hearing scheduled for next Wednesday, as announced by the NHL Players’ Association on Thursday. It is the first date of the hearings, which run through Aug. 26.
Of course, Islanders president and general manager Lou Lamoriello — who, so far, has not announced any of his presumed offseason moves — would prefer to work out a long-term deal with Pelech, who is coming off a four-year, $6.4 million deal but whose market value has likely risen to nearly $7 million per season.
Pelech is one of 17 NHL players who elected arbitration, along with two team-elected cases. Three of those 19 players have already come to an agreement on a new contract. The Islanders and Pelech can negotiate until Pelech’s arbitration hearing.
Pelech’s defense partner, Ryan Pulock, avoided salary arbitration last offseason, agreeing to a two-year, $10 million deal two days before his scheduled hearing.
Lamoriello is likely waiting to reach a new deal with Pelech before revealing his other offseason moves. The Islanders have $17.6 million in space available under the $81.5 million salary-cap ceiling. They can also exceed the ceiling by $6 million when Johnny Boychuk returns to long-term injured reserve.
It is widely believed Lamoriello has new deals in place with unrestricted free-agent forwards Kyle Palmieri, Casey Cizikas and, most likely, Travis Zajac. It’s also believed Lamoriello has reached agreement with UFA forward Zach Parise, who was bought out of the final four seasons of his 13-year, $98 million deal with the Wild.
Lamoriello must also reach agreements with RFAs Anthony Beauvillier and goalie Ilya Sorokin, neither of whom elected salary arbitration.
Defenseman Andy Greene was re-signed to a one-year contract with a cap charge of $725,000, though the team has yet to announce the deal.