The contract squabble between New York and Brock Nelson — who finished third on the team with 20 goals last year — is on the verge of getting ugly.
If it isn’t ugly already.
“We haven’t heard from them in six weeks,” Nelson’s agent, Ron Salcer, told Newsday. “Garth [Snow, the Islanders’ general manager] and I talked six weeks ago after they made an offer, which was nowhere near commensurate with what players like Brock are making.
“Garth said he’d get back to me and that was it. No negotiations whatsoever.”
This situation is loaded with landmines. Chief among them is the Isles’ team policy with restricted free agents where, if the player doesn’t sign by the start of training camp, he is forced to sit out the season.
Training camp is set to begin on Sept. 17 — two days from now.
Another landmine is that fact that, last year, fellow Isles forward Anders Lee took a decidedly different approach to restricted free agency. Lee accepted his qualifying offer of $850,000, had 25-goal season, and was rewarded with a four-year, $15 million extension.
So from the club’s perspective, that’s what Nelson should do.
Thing is, Nelson and Salcer aren’t following the plan and Salcer is now basically negotiating through the media:
Nelson’s camp rejected his qualifying offer and the Islanders have offered a two-year deal that, according to Salcer, is not a fair contract.
“I don’t want to get into numbers, but for the first year, it’s half of what players similar to Brock are making,” Salcer said. “And in [a] year [or] two, it’s a third of what players similar to Brock are making . . . We’re not being unreasonable. This is all their doing.”
Salcer named four players who received significant raises this offseason despite being in the same situation as Nelson: Mikael Granlund got two years and $6 million from the Wild, Alex Galchenyuk got two years and $5.6 million from the Canadiens, Mika Zibanejad received two years and $5.25 million from the Senators and Elias Lindholm got two years and $5.4 million from the Hurricanes, though Lindholm still is a year away from that contract kicking in.
“I don’t want to get into numbers, but here are some numbers.”
Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see what happens over the next 48 hours.
The Isles don’t appear to be bluffing and seemed primed to play hardball. Last week, the club invited veteran winger Steve Bernier to training camp, a move many saw as insurance should Nelson not be there.