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NHL Free Agency: Why the Islanders Should Do Everything to Get Drew Doughty

SAN JOSE, CA - APRIL 23:  Drew Doughty #8 of the Los Angeles Kings in action during their game against the San Jose Sharks in game five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at HP Pavilion on April 23, 2011 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Frank TrovatoCorrespondent IJuly 18, 2011

Opportunities like this do not come around often, if it even is an opportunity.

Drew Doughty is arguably one of the best defensemen in the NHL, and he is a free agent at the age of 21.

Yes, I know he is a restricted free agent and signing him is not as simple as throwing the most money at him.

The Kings have the right to match any contract Doughty chooses to accept.

It is no secret the Islanders have the most cap space in the NHL right now and have millions and millions of dollars to spend to even just get to the NHL's mandated salary cap floor of $48.3 million dollars.

Which means that if the Islanders are going to be salary cap compliant for this season, they need to add about $9 million dollars in salary as per the current league rules.

Yes you read that right.

So how are they going to do that? They must have a bunch of restricted free agents to sign right?

Wrong.

The Islanders currently have three RFA's on the team. Josh Bailey, Blake Comeau and Jesse Joensuu.

Assuming the team resigns all three players, that would likely leave around five to six million to spend.

So where are they going to spend it?

I say Garth Snow: go out and do everything humanly possible to get Drew Doughty in Islander colors.

So what would it take to get him?

Well the Islanders would have to sign him to an offer sheet so extremely high that the Kings would walk away from their right to match or work out a trade.

Let us explore the most likely way it could happen: a trade. What do you trade for a 21-year-old All-Star defenseman?

Realistically, were talking a package of Calvin de Haan, Josh Bailey, Brock Nelson and two first round draft picks.

Then there is the matter of actually signing Doughty, but that is something that Islanders GM Garth Snow should already have an idea of what it will take because Doughty is a free agent so negotiations could have already begun.

The other route is signing Doughty to a overpriced offer sheet that the Kings unable or unwilling to match.

How much would it take?

The Kings have just over nine million in cap space right now. So any deal with Doughty would have to be over that amount.

The beauty of it is is that if you sign Doughty to lets say a three year, 36 million dollar contract, you would be paying him an average of 12 million dollars a season.

The Kings would not be able to match that and be cap compliant.

If they refuse to match, the Islanders would then have to pay restitution to the Kings in the form of four first round draft picks.

Either case the Islanders should be exhausting all avenues to get Drew Doughty on this team if at all possible.

Garth Snow: you want to show the world that the Islanders are for real?

I cannot think of a better way.

Can you?

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