The New York Islanders are facing some significant cap and expansion protection issues this offseason. They have less than $6 million in cap space and have to re-sign players like Ilya Sorokin, Adam Pelech, Casey Cizikas and Anthony Beauvillier. The Expansion Draft process could also see them lose a player like Cal Clutterbuck, Kieffer Bellows, or Michael Del Cole for nothing. This opens the door for the Vancouver Canucks, who are looking to acquire younger and more offensively driven players. That player could be Beauvillier.
History of Trading RFAs
This would not be the first time the Islanders had to trade a promising RFA due to salary cap restraints. On October 12th, 2020, The Islanders were forced to move Devon Toews for two second-round picks due to salary cap issues. He was coming off a career year, and New York could not afford the $4.1 million he eventually received from Colorado. A similar situation could be playing out with Beauvillier, and it would be a smart move for the Canucks to check in and see if a deal could be done.
There is also the topic of Expansion Draft that may force the Islander’s hand. The final protection slot may come down to Beauvillier or Clutterbuck. While most may say it is an easy choice, the Islanders will be keen to ensure they get an asset back for at least one of these players. We have already seen expansion draft-related trades as Viktor Arvidsson was shipped off the Kings for a second and a third-round pick because of protection list issues. If the Canucks offered a similar package, it might be enough for the Islanders to consider parting with the young winger.
Beauvillier is not going to come cheap, which is going to put the Islanders in a bind. To compare, we will use Calgary’s, Andrew Mangiapane who currently makes $2.425 million a season. Both players were drafted in the same year and had similar goal and point totals over the past two seasons. The significant difference is that Beauvillier had a tremendous playoff run this season while Mangiapane’s team missed out this past season.
If we use Magiapane as a starting point, it means Beauvillier will not come any cheaper than $2.425 million next season. Add in the additional salary he will be asking for based on his playoff production, and he could easily ask for close to $3 million. This is a contract the Islanders won’t be able to afford, especially if they want to try and re-sign Casey Cizikas or Kyle Palmieri. Not to mention players like Sorokin and Pelech, who will be asking for big raises. The flat cap will cause problems, so they may not be able to afford whatever Beauvillier is asking for next season.
Beauvillier Last Season
Last season, Beauvillier played most of his time on a line with Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey. The line had an excepted goals for (xGF) of 15.5 while posting an expected goals against (xGA) of 9.7 through 356 minutes of regular-season play. They outshot their opponents and were on the ice for 13 more goals than allowed. The group did struggle a bit during the playoffs, but Beauvillier was still able to five goals and 13 points in 19 games.
On an individual level, Beauvillier drove play and was a catalyst on that line. He created 124 individual scoring chances, including 50 high-danger chances during the regular season. He was also second on the team in points during the playoffs with 13 points. He registered a Corsi percentage over 50%, finished the season as a plus-15 and led the Islanders with five game-winning goals. He is an offensively-minded player who learned how to play defense under one of the best defensive coaches in the league, Barry Trotz. With the proper development, he could become an everyday difference-maker in this league.
Potential Fit in Vancouver
There are a few lines you could put Beauvillier on within the projected Canucks roster for next season. Based on his playstyle, he could be a fit for Horvat’s wing. This would allow the Canucks to move Tanner Pearson down to the third line and create two scoring lines that do not have to shut down the other team’s top players. On the other wing, you would have Nils Höglander, another offensive threat making it more difficult for other teams to line match, knowing Vancouver had two scoring lines rather than one.
The powerplay is another place Beauvillier could help out with. He would make the second unit more dangerous and could even allow head coach Travis Green to mix up his units to create two balanced attacks. This would lead to fresher powerplay units and the ability for the coach to actually trust his second unit throughout the season.
Thinking Outside the Box
The Canucks have many holes to fill but bringing in a top-six winger who can play with Horvat while producing offensively is vital to this team’s future success. The Canucks have protection slots available and need to use those as leverage to get better. It would be a smart move if Benning looked into bringing Beauvillier to Vancouver.
Adam is excited to be joining The Hockey Writers as part of the Seattle Kraken and Vancouver Canucks team. His work can also be found at dubnetwork.ca where he covers the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.