7/3/18 | 3:02PM: Matt Martin was re-acquired by the Islanders for goalie Eamon McAdam.
8:42AM: Larry Brooks writes that it seems like a "stretch" to think that Jeff Gorton would trade a "usable piece" or draft pick to get Martin. (NY Post)
7/2/18 | John Tavares signed seven-year deal worth $77 million on Sunday to join his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs.
Tavares, in his time with the Islanders, had 38 points in 43 games against the Rangers.
Even with signing Tavares, the Leafs have around $13.6 million in cap space, according to Cap Friendly, and are trying to move Matt Martin's contract.
Martin has two-years left on his contract at $2.5 million per season and James Mirtle says that he could potentially be moved to the Rangers. (The Athletic)
Aside from Martin, the Leafs also have Nathan Horton's cap hit of $5.3 million for the next two seasons despite Horton not having played since 2013-14.
The Rangers were reported to have interest in Martin when he was a free agent in 2016.
Larry Brooks writes that Martin is "in demand" especially after the Leafs, likely, paid him his bonus yesterday.
Adam Rotter: The Matt Martin idea makes sense. He's someone that the Rangers know well from his time with the Isles and fits in with the kind of character, locker room and grit guys they have been connected with. He is what he is but the energy, physicality and, on occasion scoring touch, that Martin would bring when the Rangers played the Islanders would certainly seem to be welcome on David Quinn's team.
Overall, I could see the Rangers taking on Martin and Horton's contracts in a deal that wouldn't cost them much of anything but also land them a prospect or pick(s). The Rangers have the space to make that kind of deal, especially since both contracts expire in two-years. The Rangers are in asset accumulation mode and if Toronto is looking to deal then they should be one of Leafs' first calls.
The other impact of Tavares going to the Leafs has on the Rangers is obvious: he's no longer with the Islanders. The Rangers won't have to deal with Tavares as frequently as they did when he was in Brooklyn/Long Island and, rebuild or not, that is certainly a benefit for them moving forward. The Islanders still have some dangerous players but losing Tavares slots everyone else up and puts people into different and new roles.
As for the rest of the East, Toronto certainly upgraded by adding one of the 10 best players in the league and while they are extraordinarily deep up front, they still need to improve on defense. The Atlantic had the top three-teams in the conference last year (Toronto and Washington were tied) but also the bottom four-teams in the conference. I'd imagine that remains pretty close to the same and potentially leaves the Metro with the chance at both wild card slots.