Detroit Red Wings can help the cap-strapped Islanders for a price

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Red Wings still have an opportunity to land much-needed draft capital if they so choose.  General manager Steve Yzerman needs to pick up the phone and call the New York Islanders.

The New York Islanders remain ‘cap-strapped’ due to the NHL salary cap freeze, along with having a couple of awful contracts hampering the teams’ progress in extending their top forward Mathew Barzal.  The Detroit Red Wings have plenty of cap space to do something similar for the Islanders to what they did for the New York Rangers by bringing in veteran defender Marc Staal for the final year of his lucrative $5.7 million in yearly salary.

Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman acquired Marc Staal from the Rangers along with landing a second-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft.  The Wings currently sit with three second-round choices in next years’ draft, along with two picks in the third round, so why not continue to try and stockpile future draft picks?  Or maybe even a top-nine forward?

New York’s general manager Lou Lamoriello finds himself in a tight spot having less than $4 million at his disposal to sign a player that will command nearly double that figure.  The Red Wings are sitting well with more than $9.5 million in cap space for the upcoming NHL season.

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The Islanders have an abundance of high-priced forwards littered throughout their roster, starting with captain Andres Lee, followed by Brock Nelson, Jordan Eberle, and Jean-Gabriel Pageau, all of which maintain no-trade clauses.

There is another fairly high-priced forward under contract for the next four seasons without a no-trade clause attached to his contract.  Perhaps Yzerman could swing a deal to land center Josh Bailey.

Bailey earns $5 million per season and is a 31-year old proven two-way forward with an offensive upside.  Bailey also fits a need for the Red Wings.  Detroit remains thin down the middle of their lineup behind star forward Dylan Larkin.

The Islanders surely won’t just give away one of their top nine forwards, but perhaps they’d be interested in someone like Luke Glendening, who fits head coach Barry Trotz’s defensive-minded system perfectly.  Glendening is a reliable two-way center that can fit in anywhere (center or either wing) as a bottom-six forward.

It would be a bit of a homecoming for Bailey, who spent time with the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) during his junior days.  Last season Bailey recorded 14 goals and added 29 assists totaling 43 points in 68 games.  Bailey earned a mediocre 46.3 Corsi For Percentage in 2019-20 while averaging just shy of 17 minutes of ice-time per game.

In this deal that I am proposing, it’s unlikely Yzerman would be able to land a second or third-round draft pick, but he’d be landing the superior player.  Maybe the Islanders are so desperate to get a new deal done with Barzal they’d be willing to sweeten the pot by adding a fourth-round pick into the agreement.

Additional Islander players that carry a significant cap number are Leo Komarov ($3MM), Cal Clutterbuck ($3.5MM), and Johnny Boychuk ($6MM) per season, but all expire in two seasons.

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Unlike the Marc Staal deal that comes to an end at the conclusion of this season, the Detroit Red Wings may be able to fleece the Islanders into moving a first-round pick to take on any one of these deals listed due to the two-year commitment they’d be forced to finance.