We're nearly a month into the NHL's free agent period and there are still some big names on the open market. Guys like Mike Hoffman, Anthony Duclair, Mikael Granlund and Travis Hamonic are all still available on the UFA market and some even bigger names are available on the RFA market. I know that RFA offersheets rarely happen, but teams have to be intrigued by players like Mat Barzal, Ryan Pulock, Anthony Mantha and Pierre-Luc Dubois.
As a reminder, here are the compensation packages associated with signing an RFA:
To that end, Sportsnet's Sonny Sachdeva takes a look at the RFA options out there and he makes a good case for Barzal signing elsewhere. After all, Isles GM Lou Lamoriello is a shrewd negotiator and likely won't want to pay Barzal $9+ million annually. This sets the table for a potential RFA offersheet.
Check it out:
In March, GM Lou Lamoriello said the Islanders intend to match any offer sheet that comes Barzal's way, and with the centreman likely to land near $9 million per year, it's a fair bet anything within that second-highest compensation bracket ($8.73 million to $10.91 million) wouldn't be enough to pry Barzal off of the Island.
The question is whether there's a club out there willing to go one bracket higher, above $10.9 million per year. That would trigger a compensation package of four first-round picks, and more importantly, would put pressure on the Islanders to make room for their young pivot. As of now, Lamoriello has roughly $8.9 million in cap space to work with, per CapFriendly. The team already parted ways with talented defenceman Devon Toews to create some space. Does a $10.9-million AAV for Barzal mean the Islanders have to lose another piece off the roster? If so, is that enough for the team to simply let Barzal walk and take the four picks?
I have to say, four 1st round picks is a steep, steep, steeeeep price to pay but I might be willing to pay it for a player like Barzal. I truly feel that if Barzal were let loose from head coach Barry Trotz's defensive system that he'd be a top 5 scorer in the NHL alongside superstars like Connor McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon and David Pastrnak.
For the full article from Sachdeva, click below: