No news could be good news for Islanders during NHL's free agent frenzy
The Islanders were silent on Wednesday. At least publicly.
The NHL’s free agent market opened at noon and most of the league descended into a money-spending frenzy. The Islanders acknowledged no deals, nor did president and general manager Lou Lamoriello address the media.
However, no news may actually be good news for the Islanders when it comes to their attempts to re-sign key unrestricted free agents Casey Cizikas and Kyle Palmieri, originally from Smithtown.
While no news leaked of the two returning to the Islanders, neither were there reports linking them to any other team, which likely indicates Lamoriello was deep in negotiations with both.
The same is likely true for Zach Parise, who was bought out of the final four seasons of his 13-year, $98 million deal with the Wild and could provide scoring on the third line and the power play.
Lamoriello, then running the Devils, initially drafted Parise, the son of former Islander J.P. Parise, 17th overall in 2003. That was two picks after the Islanders selected Robert Nilsson, who spent the bulk of his short NHL career with the Oilers.
The famously-secretive Lamoriello could also be angling for a bigger deal, perhaps on the trade market.
His stated offseason priority is to re-sign key restricted free agents Anthony Beauvillier, defenseman Adam Pelech and goalie Ilya Sorokin and the Islanders have approximately $17.6 million in space under the flat, $81.5 million salary-cap ceiling. Plus, they will be able to exceed that ceiling by $6 million when the unable-to-play Johnny Boychuk is again placed on long-term injured reserve.
The Blues, like the Islanders, did not make a move on Wednesday and Lamoriello may be interested in Vladimir Tarasenko if St. Louis opts to trade the disgruntled sharpshooter, who carries a $7.5 million cap charge and has had shoulder injuries wreck his last two seasons.
The Islanders must replace top-line right wing Jordan Eberle, selected in the expansion draft by the Seattle Kraken, and top-four defenseman Nick Leddy, traded to the Red Wings. Both count $5.5 million against the cap.
The Islanders did not land any of the free agent defensemen who might have made financial sense for them. Ryan Suter, bought out of the same contract as Parise’s by the Wild, signed with the Stars. Mike Reilly stayed with the Bruins. Alex Goligoski signed with the Wild.
Travis Zajac, acquired from the Devils along with Palmieri on April 7, also remains a UFA not linked to any other team. He could re-sign with the Islanders either as a replacement for Cizikas or as an extra forward.
One player who will leave is mercurial former first-round pick Josh Ho-Sang, who will sign a professional tryout contract with the Maple Leafs after playing in Sweden on loan this season.