New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow has his work cut out for him this summer.
After his team made it to the second round of the playoffs only to lose to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the offseason ahead presents a number of challenges. One item was seemingly crossed off the list when Travos Hamonic rescinded his earlier trade request.
However, the Islanders have three key players that are pending unrestricted free agents and could hit the open market. Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen and Matt Martin are all on expiring contracts.
Snow, given the step forward his team seems to have taken this year, sounds keen on having all three players return to the Islanders. The big issue is trying to make that a reality.
“That’s the challenge for us,” Snow said, as per Newsday. “We need to devise a way to keep all three. Whether that can happen, I can’t answer that right now. We want to maintain the positive strides we’ve made in the recent past and take that step to the next level.”
The other day, Okposo confirmed that he and his agent haven’t yet had contract talks with the Islanders.
He is likely in line for a substantial raise.
Here’s a look at the three aforementioned pending UFAs:
— Kyle Okposo, 28, wraps up his current five-year, $14 million deal that came with a $2.8 million cap hit. He scored 22 goals and 64 points in 79 games during the 2015-16 regular season and is two years removed from a single-season career-high 27 goals.
— Frans Nielsen, 32, is at the end of a four-year, $11 million deal with a cap hit of $2.75 million. He scored 20 goals and 52 points in 81 regular season games and is two years removed from a single-season career-high in goals (25) and points (58). He said in March it would be his “first choice” to re-sign with the Islanders.
— Matt Martin, 27, is at the end of his four-year, $4 million deal with a $1 million cap hit. He’s known more for his physical presence than his scoring, but he did record a single-season career-high 10 goals and 19 points during the 2015-16 campaign.
“Whether a winger for John (Tavares), the addition of a goalie, upgrading our defense, we leave no stone unturned to improve our club,” Snow continued.
“I’m not going to get into specific positions, those opportunities will unfold here, especially leading up to the draft.”