Mathew Barzal is up for a huge raise, when are the Islanders going to give it to him

The Islanders best player, Mathew Barzal remains unsigned. He is an RFA without arbitration rights and is prime for an offer sheet. However, should you even write those words Isles fans will come for your head.

When analysts talk about teams with cap issues, you hear about the Tampa Bay Lightning and Vegas Golden Knights. For some reason, people seem to forget that the Islanders are in cap hell as much as any other squad.

What does this mean for Mat Barzal? Let’s break it down.

Mathew Barzal ready to get paid

Let’s start with this, I believe the Islanders will do whatever it takes to keep Barzal on Long Island. They have a brand new arena being built and they need to fill those seats. That would get harder if Barzal gets away.

At 23 years-old, Barzal has become the face of the franchise. In his rookie year he opened eyes around the league with 85 points. While he has dipped below that in his last two seasons, he was still close to a point per game player this past year.

So what he is worth? Many around the NHL think he will get something in the neighborhood of $7 to $8 million. Knowing Lou Lamoriello, he is going to try and lock him up for less.

The question I have is what will the term be? If Lamoriello wants to sign him for less, then the term would be no more than four years so that Barzal can be a UFA at 27. Anything over that means Lou is buying free agent years and the deal could even exceed $8 million.

“Whenever we’re ready to sit down and get it done, I’d love for that to happen,” Barzal said of his next contract. “At the same time, I’m not a person that’s just going to rush this thing or get nervous about it or whatever. I’m just going about my day, and it’ll happen when it happens.”


Will Mathew Barzal get an offer sheet?

Mathew Barzal offer sheet
Barzal prime offer sheet candidate (Bruce Bennett / Getty images)

The big question out there is if someone will offer sheet Barzal? In the current climate, the likelihood is no. Still, you should never say never and there are teams with tons of cap space that need such a star. It isn’t crazy that one of them would consider an offer if this drags on.

There is also Lou Lamoriello himself saying clearly to anyone considering an offer sheet that he’d match it. “It is our intention to not allow it to get to that point,” the Isles GM said regarding an offer sheet to Barzal. “Should that happen, the answer is yes [he would match].”

Per Cap Friendly, the Isles have a little over $8.9 million to sign Barzal, and fellow RFA, Ryan Pulock. That obviously isn’t enough for both, so Lou will need to try and ship out another body. He already moved another RFA in Devon Toews. He will be hard pressed to find takers for some of his overpriced aging vets in this market.

Bottom line, if a team wants to steal Barzal away, they will need to go over $10 million for 7 years. That’s a big ask, and that’s why many don’t see it happening.

But hey…you never know.