Casey Cizikas has been an important player of the New York Islanders in his 10 seasons on the team. Even though it seemed likely that Cizikas would re-sign, we found out that he took a team-friendly deal. It’s not official, but it seems like it’s a 6-year deal worth around $2.5 million a year. Considering the fact that Seattle Kraken was offering him around $5 million per year, Cizikas did the Islanders a huge favor. In keeping Cizikas, the Islanders will keep together their “identity line”. Cizikas has now shown that he wants to be an Islander basically for the rest of his career. Six years is a long deal. Although, it is alright because of the lower cap hit. Cizikas exemplifies what the Islanders are, a team built on structure and fundamentals. Keeping Cizikas around long-term can only really be a good thing.
Cizikas’ impact on the Islanders
Cizikas is one of if not the best bottom six defensive centers in the NHL. He’s a solid offensive player and can contribute that way. But, he is amazing at defense and penalty killing. The advanced stats show that Cizikas is in the 94th percentile for defense and the 92nd percentile for penalty killing. Also, he is built for playoff hockey, his physicality and aggressiveness work well in that environment. The Islanders’ “identity line” wouldn’t be the best 4th line in hockey without Cizikas. He solidifies the Islanders’ center core, which is one of the best in all of hockey.
The role that Cizikas plays
Cizikas is really a player who fits perfectly in his role on the team. He doesn’t have to get you goal-scoring, but he does every once in a while. He did score 20 goals and 13 assists in 2018-19, which was his last full season. In 2019-20, he scored 10 goals and 4 assists in 48 games. Along with 7 goals and 7 assists in 2021’s 56 games. His career +/- is +20, and under Barry Trotz, it’s +32. There really is no stat that can really show how good Casey Ciizikas is. But, the eye test shows that he has a key role on the Islanders. The Islanders aren’t in back-to-back Stanley Cup Semi-Finals without Cizikas. As long as Cizikas is on the ice, he will continue to be an intricate piece of Barry Trotz’s puzzle.
Concerns with this contract
With signing him to a six-year contract, there are some concerns that come with Casey Cizkas. Besides 2021, Cizikas has had some problems when it comes to injuries. He did miss the tail end of the 2020 playoffs and missed a lot of games in 2019-20. Health is going to be key for this being a good contract. Yes, it’s a team-friendly deal, but 6 years is a long time. Especially when he’s already 30 years old, injuries could be a concern. There is no massive concern about real regression, the style he plays should serve him well through his late 30’s. He’s signed until he’s 37, but the Islanders believe this contract is worth it.
Cizikas is an Islander, and probably will be an Islander for the rest of his career. Cizikas taking a team-friendly deal is a sentiment to Lou Lamoriello‘s leadership, this wouldn’t have happened under Garth Snow. As of right now, all this contract shows is really good things for the Islanders. It’s a great thing to have Cizikas staying, now the Islanders need to sign their other free agents.