Islanders’ Scott Mayfield preparing for unknown of free agency

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Scott Mayfield Islanders Varlamov
New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield (24) and goaltender Semyon Varlamov (40) celebrate after defeating the Colorado Avalanche in an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Elmont, N.Y. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
AP Photos

EAST MEADOW, N.Y. — The prospect of potentially wearing any other NHL uniform that isn’t that of the New York Islanders is a concept that defenseman Scott Mayfield admitted would be “very weird.”

“It’s something I don’t really want to think about that much,” he said on Monday during his exit interview.

But Mayfield is headed to unrestricted free agency this offseason coming off a career year, posting bests in goals (6), assists (18), points (24), and blocked shots (168) in his ninth season with the team.

“It’s something that I have gotten the opportunity now to be a free agent,” Mayfield said. “If something comes up, I don’t know what to expect. It’s my first time and it’s a completely different animal than anything I’ve ever done.”

The 30-year-old blueliner has been an integral depth piece for the Islanders’ defense, appearing in 428 regular season games and an additional 57 postseason games. Only 10 Islanders defensemen in franchise history have played in more playoff games than Mayfield.

Scott Mayfield Islanders
New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield (24) and Colorado Avalanche’s Alex Newhook (18) battle for the puck in the first period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Elmont, N.Y. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

With sturdy blue-line help always at a premium throughout the NHL, the market should be robust for the St. Louis native.

“There’s always that concern [that he won’t be back],” Mayfield’s long-time teammate and fellow defenseman, Ryan Pulock, said. “You play with a guy for that long and who’s been here for quite a while and been a key part of playing his role… When you’re a free agent and you don’t have a contract at this time of year, anything can happen, right?

“So it’s business, it’s something that he is going to deal with this summer and hopefully, at the end of the day, he is back here.”

While Mayfield has continuously professed his love for the organization that drafted him in 2011, there is understandable intrigue in potentially seeing just where the market stands for him.

“It’s definitely different. There are ways to look at free agency,” Mayfield said. “It’s kind of weird. You look at comps, you look at different teams, places you want to live. You can look at just money.

“There are so many factors that go into the decision to bring a guy in or for a player to choose where to go.”

While he didn’t disclose whether or not he’ll wait until July 1 to hit the open market when free agency officially begins, it’s a decision he’ll begin to “ramp up” over the next few weeks.

“There’s a lot of things that happened here,” Mayfield said. “I’m married and settled down a little bit more here. There’s been a lot of good times here… It’s a special group and a special place to play.”

For more on Scott Mayfield and the Islanders, visit AMNY.com