Any sports fan familiar with the NHL knows that Islanders president and general manager Lou Lamoriello gives zero indication about his plans, providing a sometimes-frustrating shroud of uncertainty over his team.
But at least we can now ascertain that the concept of securing center Mathew Barzal on Long Island for the foreseeable future — even potentially the rest of his career — is being looked upon favorably by both parties involved in uncertain contract negotiations.
Barzal is in the final year of his three-year, $21 million bridge deal that was expected to carry him over to his big payday. Ideally, the Islanders would like to lock him before he hits free agency to avoid any correlations between the loss of John Tavares four years ago.
“I don’t want to say that’s a foolish question but without question,” Lamoriello said on Monday at the team’s annual charity golf outing when asked by amNewYork if he wants Barzal to be a fixture of the franchise for the foreseeable future. This after passing on any questions about the 25-year-old’s future with the team.
This comes just days after Barzal indicated to Bill Price of NHL.com that he wants to stay with the Islanders.
“I love Long Island, so it’s somewhere I’d want to stay,” Barzal said. “I would like to be there. It obviously is a business, but at the end of the day, I love Long Island. So, if we can make it fair and both sides are happy, then I’d sign it tomorrow.”
Of course, there’s the rub. Barzal could be asking to fetch north of $8 million per season in his next deal — a figure that would have been too much for Lamoriello to handle. However, considerable money will drop from he team’s books after this season which should allow them to fit such a pact.