Well, the 2015 Unrestricted Free Agent market for defencemen just got a lot weaker. The Islanders and defenceman Johnny Boychuk agreed to a seven year, $42 million contract extension, so a cap hit of $6 million. Sorry Oilers fans, the dream is dead.
Boychuk has been critical in the Islanders’ transformation from bottom dweller to legitimate contender this season. Through 59 games, he’s already surpasses his career high in goals with 7 and points with 32. Boychuk sits second behind Travis Hamonic on the Islanders with 21:38 minutes player per game, and third among skaters behind John Tavares and Nick Leddy with 6.3 point shares.
The Islanders now have a good chunk of their future defensive core locked up long term. Earlier this season, they locked up Nick Leddy to summer 2023 at a cap hit of $5.50 million per season. They also have Travis Hamonic locked up until 2020 at a cap hit of $3.857 and Calvin de Haan under control at $1.967 million for two more years.
As previously mentioned, the market for free agent defencemen is starting to look pretty thin. Mike Green, Jeff Petry, Christian Ehrhoff, and Cody Franson headline this list, but after that, it doesn’t look pretty. If a team is going to be looking to acquire a quality defenceman through free agency, they’re going to have to dig deep into their wallets as the demand is most certainly higher than the available supply.
Stats courtesy of Hockey Reference