The New York Islanders made the playoffs and celebrated the end of a 23-year drought in April when they finally won a playoff series, as John Tavares’ overtime goal in Game Six completed an upset of Atlantic Division champion Florida. But free agency did not go well and there might not be too many similar celebrations in Brooklyn in the future.
Kyle Okposo, one of the first players to greet Tavares after his landmark goal, is now with the Sabres. Frans Nielsen, who centered Okposo far more than Tavares did last season, left for Detroit, and physical fourth-liner Matt Martin is gone to Toronto. The Islanders tried to replace them with an absurd deal for Andrew Ladd (seven years, $38.5 million) and smaller ones to Jason Chimera and PA Parenteau.
Those are some poor swaps. If you’re looking for one playoff team from the East that’s destined to slide next season, the Islanders would be a good choice.
The elephant in the room remains Tavares’ contract, which has two years left at $6 million per season. How much will his next deal be worth? Tavares looks like the next subject of an obsession by the folks in Toronto looking for another hometown kid to join the Leafs.