I pointed out several posts ago (don't need a link 'cause honestly were you really going to read it?) how I felt the NHL's bonus system vis a vis the salary cap floor was silly, and that teams shouldn't be able to load up on contracts with bonus money that will never be paid in order to reach the floor. The NHL powers that be felt the same way and in the new CBA, bonuses are no longer counted towards a team's Lower Limit. The Islanders, having used phony bonuses for many years, are the intended target, and they've struck back. Nino Niederreiter supposedly demanded a trade today - Niederreiter of the 1 goal in 55 games last season is currently tearing up the AHL to the tune of nearly a goal every other game, but was not invited to the Islanders' shortened training camp. Ryan Strome, 5th overall pick 2 years ago, did not make the Islanders despite a very strong junior season. Defenseman prospect Griffin Reinhart also did not make the team, although the Islanders currently are using 2 players who were on waivers last week and a guy they signed off the street. I haven't mentioned Brock Nelson, who is also tearing up the AHL, but whose contract is not eligible to slide.
It's hard to look at these actions and not see the pattern - instead of using bonus-laden years to buoy themselves up to the salary floor, the Islanders are now saving Entry-Level years on contracts. Strome's contract still has another slide year - he'll now be UFA in 2020 instead of 2019. Niederreiter's contract can't be saved, but they sure can sit on him to make sure he has no leverage at all on his second contract. And who needs Reinhart eating up minutes and contract time in the NHL when you can get Brian Strait off the street to do much the same thing? In short, the Islanders seem to be doing exactly what blogger types have always demanded of organizations who have a bunch of high draft picks and aren't very good now - sit on them. Don't waste their entry level years if they're not great, and even if you can't undo damage, as in Niederreiter, just let him slave away in the AHL for as long as possible, and don't give him critical minutes when he comes up. All those saved dollars can go towards signing veteran players that just might give the Islanders a fighting chance when they're heading to their new home in Brooklyn.