Casey Cizikas is staying on the Island.
The fourth-line center reportedly signed a deal last month with the Islanders to keep him for another six years at around $2.5 million per, according to Arthur Staple. The AAV could be higher, but anything under $3 million would be a huge win for the Isles and their cap situation.
Cizikas’ signing comes should bring a sign of relief, as the rumor was leaked around a month ago along with other team’s interest. It had been reported 30-year-old had asked upward of $5M from the expansion Seattle Kraken after they had reached out to him once the free agency period began.
Although the $2.5M AAV wouldn’t create any extra room on the Isles current $17.67M cap space, it does represent about $1M in savings from Cizikas’s last deal ($3.35M AAV). The latest deal shouldn’t come as a surprise to many people with how g.m. Lamoriello has went about contract negotiations.
Lamoriello managed to secure Matt Martin to a four-year deal with $1.5M AAV last offseason while also a $1M savings on the cap from the previous deal. He also got d-man Adam Pelech to agree to a bargain of a deal last month that resulted in a $5.75M cap hit for the next eight seasons.
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) August 31, 2021
A six-year deal for Cizikas may not be exactly what the Isles need, but it was likely a huge factor in keeping the AAV down for Lamoriello. With it, the Islanders now get to keep Cal Clutterbuck, Martin and Cizikas on the “Identity Line” together at least for another season or two. Clutterbuck’s deal, which he signed back in 2017, is set to expire next offseason.
The latest contract for Cizikas — if completed — will take him up to age 36, too represents how much the organization values him and vice versa. The Toronto native has been considered the heart and soul of the team for years, and replacing him would have been a very difficult task.
“There’s no one who has bigger character in our dressing room and is loved more than Casey,” head coach Barry Trotz said about Cizikas during the playoffs. “He gives everything he’s got shift in and shift out.”
Cizikas was a high priority on a busy offseason checklist for the Islanders, and with him now in the fold long term, the attention now turns to getting a deal in place with RFA goalie Ilya Sorokin and making another possible move to bring in a d-man. As of this morning, Anthony Beauvillier — also an RFA — has a signed deal that has yet to be filed which is worth $12.3M over the next three seasons. Kyle Palmieri and Zach Parise’s contracts have also been agreed to but not announced.
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