The band will stay together for the foreseeable future.
That, essentially, was Garth Snow’s message to the rest of the National Hockey League Thursday when it was announce that Johnny Boychuk agreed to a seven-year, $42 million extension. The Boychuk deal followed the seven year, $38.5 million signed by Nick Leddy on Feb. 24.
Details of Boychuk’s pact was first reported byNewsday.
“Ever since I came to the Islanders, the organization has been incredible to both myself and my family,” Boychuk said in a statement released by the team. “I am proud to be an Islander and look forward to completely every night in front of such a passionate fan base for many years to come.”
And that may not be hyperbole.
Why does that matter?
Unlike some other potential Stanley Cup Playoff opponents, the Islanders’ cap management appears to be well set heading into next season.
While the cap ceiling will not be $75 million –as many had estimatedatRogers’ announcement that the Canadian multimedia conglomerate had won the bidding for league broadcast rights last year–Gary Bettman told media on Jan. 24 in Columbus during All-Star Weekend that the ceiling could range between $71.7-$73 million range due to the weakened Canadian dollar.
“There has been a lot of speculation about the impact of the fall or decline of the Canadian dollar relative to the U.S. dollar and its impact on hockey-related revenues and the salary cap,” Bettman said. “I assure you that even with the decline in the Canadian dollar, the salary cap doesn’t fall off a cliff. When we gave you the rough estimate projection in December, the same estimate that I gave to the clubs, we were projecting a cap of $73 million, assuming the 5-percent increment under the collective bargaining agreement, based on the Canadian dollar at 88 cents to the U.S. dollar for the rest of the year. That would be 73 at 88. At 82 cents for the rest of the year, the cap would be 72.2, and at 80 cents, the cap would be 71.7.
“These are not in the context of a $70-million-plus cap dramatic numbers. As of Friday I think the Canadian dollar was 81 cents. Nobody can project exactly where it’s going, but the point that I’m making is you’re not going to see a dramatic difference. The cap is computed based on currency on a daily basis. It’s averaged over the season, so even as I said with an 80-cent Canadian dollar, we’re still looking at a cap of almost $72 million.”
So what does that mean for the Islanders?
Depending on where the ceiling is set, Snow will have between $16.2-$17.5 million to spend on two forwards, two defensemen and a goaltender. The Islanders four restricted free agents (Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, Matt Donovan, Thomas Hickey) and five unrestricted free agents (Michal Neuvirth, Eric Boulton, Tyler Kennedy, Colin McDonald, Lubomir Visnovsky). Common sense dictates that Lee and Nelson will be signed, while Neuvirth and Kennedy could provide needed depth in goal and with the bottom six forward corps. The presence of Ryan Pulock and Griffin Reinhart in the system could make Donovan and Visnovsky expendable, while moving Hickey to a seventh defenseman role.
You can follow NHL writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman