May 13, 2011, 11:02 AM EDT
It’s been a good year for Michael Grabner. After his season started off rocky being traded from Vancouver to Florida and then being waived by the Panthers and picked up by the Islanders, he went on to score 34 goals for the Isles and on his way to a potential Calder Trophy. Add that on top of announcing the birth of his son to the world via Twitter and that makes for a solid year for anyone.
Things got better today for Grabner as the potential restricted free agent signed a five year contract with the Islanders to stay in New York and provide the offensive spark for the team. Katie Strang of New York Newsday reports that the deal is worth $15 million, an amount that would be good for a $3 million a year hit against the salary cap.
This deal by the Isles is a solid one for their fans worried about the team’s commitment to the future that is potentially hanging in the balance thanks to their arena referendum. After all, if the referendum isn’t approved by voters on August 1, it might seem a bit out of hand to have such a commitment. Of course, if the referendum doesn’t pass, the Isles have other problems on their hands.
It’s also a major commitment for Grabner after one big season in the NHL. The Isles have to hope there’s not a sophomore slump next season and one that might linger on after that. Considering Grabner’s usefulness both at even strength and shorthanded, he might have a permanent spot in the lineup regardless.
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