The New York Islanders have one key contract extension out of the way now.
Per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Islanders have signed defenseman Ryan Pulock to a two-year extension worth $10 million. The 26-year-old Pulock was an RFA, and the other 30 teams could have signed him to an offer sheet.
Fortunately for the cap-strapped Islanders, that didn’t end up being the case. They managed to reach a fair short-term deal with Pulock, who will have the chance to increase his market value if he plays well on the new two-year contract.
General manager Lou Lamoriello had to clear space this offseason in order to make room for Pulock and other key RFAs that remain unsigned. He traded away standout defenseman Devon Toews to the Colorado Avalanche for 2021 and 2022 second-round draft picks.
With Pulock re-signed, the Islanders have approximately $3.905 million in cap space, per CapFriendly. The last order of business now is to re-sign top center Mathew Barzal, who could easily cost $5 million-plus on a new deal.
When it comes to re-signing his key players, Lamoriello has certainly been a busy man. Last year, he re-signed forwards Anders Lee (seven years, $49 million), Brock Nelson (six years, $36 million) and Jordan Eberle (five years, $27.5 million) to long-term contracts.
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The Islanders have quickly emerged as one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference under Lamoriello and head coach Barry Trotz. After more than two decades of mediocrity, the Islanders reached the second round of the 2019 playoffs after sweeping Sidney Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Isles followed it up by advancing to the 2020 Eastern Conference Final for the first time since 1993. They were ousted by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning, but it was still a remarkable and unforgettable season for the Islanders.
With most of the core players signed long-term, the Islanders should be a Stanley Cup contender for many years to come.
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