Lamoriello: Isles would match offer sheet for Barzal

Mike Stobe / National Hockey League / Getty

The New York Islanders have no intention on letting star forward Mathew Barzal slip away once he hits restricted free agency at the end of the 2019-20 season.

General manager Lou Lamoriello confirmed as much in a recent Q&A with Isles fans on the club's website when asked whether he'd match a potential offer sheet for the 22-year-old.

"It is our intention to not allow it to get to that point, but should that happen, the answer is yes," Lamoriello said.

Barzal's entry-level deal is soon to expire, and he's one of the top RFA's on the board this summer. It was offer sheet pandemonium last offseason as an unprecedented amount of young superstars were due big money on their second contracts.

Only one offer sheet ultimately came about, as the Montreal Canadiens unsuccessfully tried to poach forward Sebastian Aho from the Carolina Hurricanes.

Barzal was drafted 16th overall by the Isles in 2015, and he's led New York in scoring in each of his three full seasons in the NHL. This year, he was on track to do the same before the league went on pause, registering 60 points in 68 games.

Defensemen Ryan Pulock and Devon Toews are also RFA's Lamoriello needs to take care of this offseason, but Barzal is the No. 1 priority by a landslide, as he could reasonably become the team's highest-paid player.

The Islanders are projected to have just over $12.6 million in space for 2020-21, according to Cap Friendly. However, with the NHL's revenue streams shut down for the foreseeable future due to the coronavirus, it's unclear what next season's salary cap will be.

Lamoriello: Isles would match offer sheet for Barzal
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