With about a month-and-a-half remaining until the start of free agency on July 1, and just more than five weeks until the interview period, there's nothing certain yet regarding which of the Islanders' pending unrestricted free agents will be back with the team.
Mining for information from a Lou Lamoriello-run team can often be an exercise in futility. So The Athletic's Arthur Staple spoke with several outside sources to try to get a better sense of what may happen with Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, Jordan Eberle, Robin Lehner and Valtteri Filppula.
The consesus was that Lee, whom the Islanders named captain after John Tavares left last year, would be back on a contract worth roughly $7 million a season, with the only matter being how long the contract would be.
"Doubt they named him captain to watch him leave," a team executive told The Athletic.
The Isles have a dearth of goal-scorers as it is, so letting Lee get away wouldn't seem prudent unless they had plans to replace him with one of the top free agents like Artemi Panarin, Matt Duchene or Jeff Skinner. Lee scored 28 goals this season after scoring 40 last year and 34 the season prior.
As far as Nelson, there aren't a ton of free-agent options at center, meaning Nelson could be attractive to center-needy teams not wanting to pay the price for Duchene.
However, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman recently reported that Nelson and the Islanders are "grinding away" to come to terms on a new deal. That Nelson played well in Barry Trotz's system would seem to increase the likelihood that he stays with the Isles.
If both Lee and Nelson are re-signed, it would become much liklier that Eberle heads elsewhere. The Islanders should probably let him walk regardless because he doesn't seem to be an ideal fit for Trotz, and paying him $6-6.5 million a season will end with disappointment. He was a factor in the playoffs, but he had just 37 points in the regular season.
Lehner would seem like an easy deal to get done, given how terrific he was for the Isles and the uncertainty they'd face at the position without him. The consensus from The Athletic and its sources was Lehner returning on a four-year deal worth $5 million per year, which would be a great deal for both sides.
Filppula ended up being a decent addition considering the Isles' lack of center depth. His future might hinge on what else Lamoriello has planned, but he chipped in 17 goals and provided a steady veteran presence for an Islanders team adapting to a new style.