Mathew Barzal was absent from the first day of New York Islanders training camp, which doesn't come as a surprise.
The star center, who is a restricted free agent, still is waiting for a new contract, and Islanders head coach Barry Trotz told The Athletic's Arthur Staple that Barzal is officially considered a holdout.
#Isles camp has begun with off-ice testing today and Mathew Barzal is officially a holdout. Barry Trotz confirmed Barzal is not in camp yet, though he has been on LI.— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) January 3, 2021
"You have to make sure you're adaptable," Trotz said. "We're going to worry about who we can put on the ice."
New York has about $3.9 million in cap space, according to CapFriendly, and can create an additional $6 million in space when Johnny Boychuk, who ended his career due to an eye injury, is placed on long-term injured reserve.
Trotz did say Barzal is on Long Island, so if he does come to an agreement with the club, he should be able to begin training at the team facility immediately.
Barzal, who was drafted 16th overall in 2015, has been a huge contributor to New York's offense. The 23-year-old has notched 207 points (59 goals, 148 assists) in 234 regular-season games. In 30 playoff games, he has 24 points (seven goals, 17 assists).
It's unclear what kind of deal Barzal may sign, but a number of insiders believe he'll sign some sort of bridge deal.