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Financial Situation Force Islanders Into Difficult Decisions

2020-09-16

The Islanders have been active in the past month or so, shipping out 3 veterans in an effort to shed salary and gain cap space. Centers Mikael Backlund and Blake Coleman were traded, along with with veteran defenseman Ron Hainsey. A couple of 3rd round picks came back in the trades, but the main focus was the cap space gained and the desperately needed cash influx to keep the team balance sheet afloat. Big-money veteran defensemen Zdeno Chara and Ian Cole are also expected to leave, but the team is expected to discuss with both players on a return.

”The reality of the situation is that we're at a competitive disadvantage. The fans have been great and they've supported the team at every turn. Even with the ticket price increase, the fans have come out and supported us. We cannot express how we grateful we are of the fans. They do recognize that we are spending the money on the team and they are willing to pay help the team keep it's stars to be competitive." -said GM Tony Chiu in a press conference when announcing the trade of Blake Coleman.

"Blake was a great character on the team, a class individual, and he will be greatly missed. The strength of depth of this team is at Center, so despite the loss of Blake and Mikael (Backlund), we have sufficient players in the system to replace them. We expect Joel (Eriksson-Ek) to take a bigger role defensively, and we expect Nick (Suzuki) to come in and provide the missing offense. Chris (Tierney) is still here and we expect him to take chip in both more defensively and offensively."

"The stadium situation, it is what it is. The owners are working hard right now, I don't know anything about construction, but man I think UBS Arena is going to be great for the team and great for the fans. We just need to hang on financially before we go into the stadium, and that means some sacrifices will have to be made. We have a great core of young players, but we can't keep everybody, especially with the additional financial restraint that comes with our current stadium situation. Some guys from the Sound Tigers will come in next season and definitely contribute. The league has helped us with moving back to the Coliseum temporarily, but that is not a permanant fix."

The Islanders, coming off a decent regular season and a first round loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, are expected to be in a cap crunch this off season before the moves, with multiple key RFAs needing to be signed.