The Islanders will make moves this offseason.
But Day 2 of the NHL free agent market on Thursday passed as quietly as Day 1 for the Islanders, with no signings, re-signings or trades announced and no public word from president and general manager Lou Lamoriello.
Not that the wily and secretive boss is idle. It’s likely Lamoriello is still investigating the cost of acquiring Vladimir Tarasenko if the Blues opt to grant the disgruntled sharpshooter’s wish to be traded.
The Blues may be more inclined to do so after signing the Avalanche’s Brandon Saad to a five-year, $22.5 million deal on Thursday, nabbing one of the top remaining unrestricted free agent forwards.
That leaves the Blues with approximately $8.6 million in space under the flat, $81.5 million salary cap for 19 players, per CapFriendly.com. That, of course, includes Tarasenko’s $7.5 million cap charge.
So, the Blues could afford to keep Tarasenko, who has two seasons remaining on his eight-year, $60 million deal that includes a no-trade clause. However, it’s believed the Islanders are on a short list of teams to which Tarasenko would approve a trade.
Shoulder injuries have severely hampered Tarasenko the past two seasons.
Lamoriello likely would want the Blues to retain a portion of Tarasenko’s cap charge, though he would have to give up more assets in that scenario compared to taking on all of Tarasenko’s contract.
Lamoriello frequently repeats a personal mantra that it’s wise to use time when time is available.
In this case, waiting is likely beneficial to the Islanders as any potential trade market for Tarasenko dwindles as other teams conduct their business.
Lamoriello’s former team, the Devils, may also be interested in Tarasenko after reportedly pursuing Saad.
Tarasenko’s seeming limbo could also explain the Islanders’ holdup in announcing any other deals.
The Islanders are still expected to re-sign UFA Kyle Palmieri and sign UFA Zach Parise, who was bought out of the final four seasons of his 13-year, $98 million deal with the Wild. Lamoriello drafted Parise 17th overall in 2003 with the Devils and Parise’s father, J.P., is a former Islander.
Lamoriello is also hoping to re-sign key identity-line center Casey Cizikas.
But just as there were no announcements on done deals, there continues to be almost zero rumors connecting Palmieri, Parise and Cizikas to other teams. The expansion Seattle Kraken reportedly had interest in Cizikas but the lack of active speculation likely signals Lamoriello is deep in negotiations with all three.
Lamoriello must also re-sign key restricted free agents Anthony Beauvillier, defenseman Adam Pelech and goalie Ilya Sorokin. The Islanders have $17.6 million in cap space and can also exceed the cap ceiling by $6 million when Johnny Boychuk returns to long-term injured reserve.