Ilya Sorokin signed an eight-year contract extension with the Islanders.

Ilya Sorokin signed an eight-year contract extension with the Islanders. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Lou Lamoriello re-signed the unrestricted free agents he prioritized and locked up franchise goalie Ilya Sorokin to an eight-year extension as a bonus. Now the Islanders’ president and general manager is looking to the trade market to improve his roster.

“Well, I think that’s exactly where the next step would be,” Lamoriello said on Saturday about five hours after the free-agent market opened as the team announced new deals with Sorokin and fellow Russian netminder Semyon Varlamov, forward Pierre Engvall and defenseman Scott Mayfield.

The salary-cap ceiling for this coming season is $83.5 million. The Islanders have approximately $82.4 million allocated to 13 forwards, seven defensemen and two goalies.

Sorokin, who will turn 28 in August and was the Vezina Trophy runner-up as the NHL’s top goalie, agreed to an eight-year, $66 million extension that will start in 2024-25 after he completes his current three-year, $12 million deal. Saturday was the first day he was eligible to sign an extension.

Engvall, 27, acquired from the Maple Leafs on Feb. 28, agreed to a seven-year, $21 million deal and Mayfield, who will be 31 when the season starts, agreed to a seven-year, $24.5 million deal. Varlamov, 35, agreed to a four-year, $11 million deal.

“We’ve signed certainly the free agents with the dollars we had available,” Lamoriello said. “And now, to get better, as everyone tries to do, it will be a hockey trade, and I think you will find that to be a similar situation for all of the NHL after the next day or so. We will do everything we can to make any transactions we can to make us better. It takes two. But we are certainly open to hockey trades.”

One possibility might be right wing Alex DeBrincat, 25, a restricted free agent whom the Senators are likely to trade. He completed a three-year, $19.2 million deal and could command an average annual value of about $8 million.

An NHL source confirmed that the Islanders have had discussions with the Senators about DeBrincat, who twice scored 41 goals for Chicago before coming to Ottawa last season and notching 27 goals and 39 assists in 82 games. The source said former Senator Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who has three seasons remaining on a six-year, $30 million deal, is a possibility to be included if a deal for DeBrincat can be made.

However, the Ottawa Sun reported Saturday that the Senators have yet to like any of the offers they’ve heard for DeBrincat.

Even if Pageau were included in the deal, Lamoriello would have to get creative to open more salary-cap space. He already freed $5 million by trading Josh Bailey to Chicago — which bought him out — along with a second-round pick in 2026 for future considerations.

Lamoriello still wants to re-sign restricted free-agent right wing Oliver Wahlstrom, 23, who is recovering from an ACL injury as he completed his entry-level three-year, $4.39 million deal. He is expected to be ready for the start of the season.

“We’ll work at that,” Lamoriello said. “He is healthy, skating and certainly will be ready, 100%, for training camp.”

Zach Parise, who will turn 39 this month, has not decided whether to retire. Lamoriello said he will have a spot on the roster if he wants to play.

Lamoriello acknowledged that the surprisingly long seven-year deals for Engvall and Mayfield were to keep the AAVs more cap-friendly.

“That’s fair to say,” Lamoriello said. “And you sort of judge them to keep the AAV down where a player would be today in the first several years of the contract and then where they might be in the latter part of the contract and try to get it so it’s a manageable number on both ends.”

Locking up Sorokin for essentially the bulk of his NHL career stood as Lamoriello’s most important move Saturday, and keeping him in a comfortable tandem was a key factor in re-signing Varlamov.

Lamoriello added, “You don’t want a player of his stature to go into the last year of a contract.” He said re-signing Sorokin now eliminates a potential season-long distraction for the goalie and the team.

“I’m always open but I have one more year,” Sorokin said during the Islanders’ breakup day on May 1 when asked if he wanted to sign an extension this offseason. “I never think about contracts. Yes, it’s worked great for me. I love this place and lots of people who are on the Island. It’s a good team.”

UFA defenseman Parker Wotherspoon, 25, who played his first 12 NHL games for the Islanders last season, signed with the Bruins.

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