The New York Islanders re-signed restricted free agent forward Mathew Barzal on Saturday, agreeing to a three-year contract.
Financial terms of the deal were not officially released, but it is reportedly worth $21 million in total which comes out to an annual salary cap hit of $7 million per season. That salary cap hit is slightly smaller than would have been expected a year ago, but the global pandemic and its impact on the league’s financials no doubt hurt Barzal on this contract (just as it has every other player signing a contract in the past year). When this contract expires Barzal will still be a restricted free agent for one more year.
Barzal was the most significant of the remaining unsigned RFA’s in the NHL. There are only five remaining with his deal complete.
[Related: ProHockeyTalk’s 2020 NHL Free Agency Tracker]
He is the Islanders’ best player and is coming off of a 2019-20 season that saw him record 60 points (19 goals, 41 assists) in 68 regular season games. That performance was followed by 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in 22 playoff games during the Islanders’ run to the Eastern Conference Final.
With this new deal signed it brings the Islanders’ team salary cap number to around $84.5 million, which is still $3 million over the league’s $81.5 million salary cap. But that number is going to go down when defenseman Johnny Boychuk and his $6 million salary cap hit gets placed on LTIR. That will then give the Islanders roughly $3 million in cap space to work with.
The Islanders are also expected to re-sign veteran forward Matt Martin, and perhaps one other player, to contracts. Boychuk’s placement on LTIR will make that possible and have the Islanders cap compliant for the start of the season.