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Grabovski, Kulemin sign four-year deals with Isles

Jul 2, 2014, 5:14 PM EDT

Buffalo Sabres v Toronto Maple Leafs Getty Images

Best friends Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin dreamed about playing together again, and now they’ll get that chance with the New York Islanders.

Grabovski and Kulemin have each signed with the Isles, per TSN, the former getting $20 million over four years, the latter $16.75 million over four years.

After Paul Stastny, Grabovski was arguably the most highly sought-after center in free agency. The 30-year-old had 13 goals and 22 assists for Washington last season. His best campaign was 2010-11, when he had 29 goals and 29 assists for the Maple Leafs. But Toronto bought him out last summer.

The 2010-11 season was also Kulemin’s high-water mark, as the winger scored 30 goals for the Leafs. But his production has fallen dramatically since then, with just 23 goals in 188 games from 2011-12 to 2013-14.

With the Islanders, Grabovski should start as the second-line center behind John Tavares. Kulemin could play with either Grabovski or Tavares.

On paper, the Isles have no shortage of potential scoring up front. They should also be more stable in goal with Jaroslav Halak and Chad Johnson. The blue line remains a question mark.

Related: Isles roll the dice on Brennan, the AHL’s reigning d-man of the year

  1. billiam55 - Jul 2, 2014 at 5:19 PM

    i must say the Islanders are making quite the splash and its honestly a lil scary. They got goalies, good forwards. If they got some real D oh boyy……….look out.

    • thegloriouspast - Jul 2, 2014 at 5:38 PM

      Have a feeling a D trade is in the works. The Islanders are crowded with forwards which leaves out spots for their younger talent(Strome, Nelson, Lee) that are expected to start the season with the team. It was said that Bailey was made available for a trade so possibly him and maybe a few others are being shopped for a legit d man? Bostons blue line is crowded, I think I read somewhere that Yandle was being shopped around out of Arizona, Chicago may need to free up some cap space to make room for their Toews/Kane deals. Possibilities and speculation, I guess.

    • kaptaanamerica - Jul 2, 2014 at 6:28 PM

      well well well… looks like Garth isn’t the idiot Canadians keeping making him out to be… i can see a deal coming together with the Bruins for a D man or two and the Isles making the playoffs…

      • guitarhunterdude - Jul 2, 2014 at 6:34 PM

        No, I’d say he’s still an idiot. There’s a saying about blind squirrels and nuts that’s probably applicable here.

      • elrock7 - Jul 2, 2014 at 7:23 PM

        kaptaananticanada, not a single thing worth listening to comes out of your mouth. You either should stay quiet in your parents basement, or pick another sport to follow.

      • kaptaanamerica - Jul 2, 2014 at 8:40 PM

        Elrock, everyone knows you’re a leafs fan. Isles making positive moves. Leafs chances at the lottery keep growing. I’m putting it out there publicly RIGHT NOW.

        the ISLES WILL FINISH AHEAD OF THE LEAFS in the standings.

      • multiplemiggs - Jul 2, 2014 at 8:52 PM

        ^ Real, Live, Asshat

      • elrock7 - Jul 2, 2014 at 9:43 PM

        So what if Im a Leaf fan kaptaanassclown? You are just a hater of anything Leaf and anything Canadian.

        Yeah I will save this post just to remember how dumb you are.

      • kaptaanamerica - Jul 2, 2014 at 11:48 PM

        Bullshiite… maybe Leafs, but not anything Canadian numb nuts. it would be kind of stupid to hate myself considering i’m Canadian u maroon or B.C. aka the homeland.

      • jl9830 - Jul 3, 2014 at 12:45 AM

        I also think the Islanders will finish ahead of the Leafs this season.

  2. spizzjr - Jul 2, 2014 at 5:35 PM

    Defense 👏👏 defense👏👏

  3. 34defense2014 - Jul 2, 2014 at 5:37 PM

    Let’s go Isles!!!

  4. spizzjr - Jul 2, 2014 at 6:02 PM

    Bailey McDonald and a 3rd rounder to Winnipeg for bogosian

  5. islesjb - Jul 2, 2014 at 6:02 PM

    Hopefully this will finally shut all of the Sabres fans up with the, “can’t wait for that McDavid pick next year” garbage. With a healthy JT and Halak alone there was no chance the Isles would finish in the button 3 and now, they actually have a shot to make some noise next season. Real pleased with how this offseason is shaping up between our goalie situation being shored up, our draft and now these signings.

    Agree with thegloriouspast that some kind of trade for D is likely coming next. Garth has already been given some spending freedom from Wang for once and he know’s that with a sale looming, they need to put up a real solid season for him to keep his job; defense is our last area of weakness.

    • cantescapekarma - Jul 2, 2014 at 8:58 PM

      Nope. Not going to shut us up. We will shut up if The Isles make the playoffs next season. Until then, most everyone in Buffalo will be hoping for your Isles to suck. No offense or anything. I’m sure you would be doing the same thing if you held our 1st rounder for next year. Hell, I am even hoping that St. Louis sucks something fierce next year too (but it seems much more plausible that the Isles give us a lottery pick than St. Louis does).
      I actually really hope the Islanders turn things around and make a deep run in the playoffs. But just not next season. After that, shoot, I hope they bring you guys a Cup! lol

      • islesjb - Jul 2, 2014 at 11:24 PM

        By my point I meant that this should stop the “I guarantee the isles hand us the McDavid pick because they’re still going to be so terrible blah blah blah” talk. Hard not to agree that the Isles look pretty decent on paper right now but by all means, hope away- I would absolutely be doing the same exact thing if roles were reversed.

      • jl9830 - Jul 3, 2014 at 12:46 AM

        That’s fair; you should be rooting for us to be bad. But too many Sabres fans are arrogantly bragging about it, and those fans just show a blinding ignorance towards the Isles.

      • rabidbillsfan - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:33 AM

        Well, last I checked it’s still July. I can assure you one thing, the Sabres will be bad, but the book has yet to be written on the Isles. A team that goes to the playoffs one year, and then drops off as far as they did this season, even after acquiring a true scoring threat, makes me wonder if it matters who takes the ice down there on LI. Like the above mentioned Blue-Line, that is a trouble spot. And look at the goalies you signed, Halak and Johnson, 2 guys coming from arguably the best defensive teams in the league. I guess what I’m saying, is that the odds of the NYI pick being a lottery pick are higher than it not being one. On a somewhat related note, I don’t even think it matters if Buffalo ends up with McDavid, this team is so deep and rich with prospects that they could field 3 lines with guys drafted in the first round, compared to one hot line with the #1 overall pick. I’m not saying I don’t want him, because that would be dumb, but to think the Sabres need him is an entirely inaccurate statement.

  6. buffalo65 - Jul 2, 2014 at 6:13 PM

    Looking forward to this blowing up and the Sabres getting number 1 and 2 next year. Grabovski?? Really. And fans are excited about this??

    • islesjb - Jul 2, 2014 at 6:20 PM

      like this jabronie

    • thesportsjudge - Jul 2, 2014 at 6:20 PM

      So you are admitting, as a fan of Buffalo, they will finish dead last, or second to last? Such loyalty, faith, and hope shown there.

      • lordfletcher - Jul 2, 2014 at 6:35 PM

        Florida / Calgary / EDM / Jets / Preds / Carolina / Buffalo ???? those are my potentials right now for the #1 and #2

      • tarotsujimoto74 - Jul 2, 2014 at 6:37 PM

        That’s just being realistic. This isn’t a playoff team and with this draft, finishing as close to the bottom as possible will accelerate the rebuild.

      • kaptaanamerica - Jul 3, 2014 at 12:05 AM

        @lord fletcher, you’re forgetting the leafs, they are on that list of teams. i’d give the Preds, Jets, Canes better chances than the Leafs.

        Bottom teams will be Buffalo, Edmonton, Cgy, leafs, florida, ottawa, phoenix

    • guitarhunterdude - Jul 2, 2014 at 7:32 PM

      Not gonna happen. But McDavid and Eichel would be a pretty ridiculous combination.

    • multiplemiggs - Jul 2, 2014 at 8:55 PM

      Beats salivating for next years pick every season lmao #UpstateTrash

  7. rmccleary97 - Jul 2, 2014 at 6:19 PM

    So much for the “Grabovski has to be going to Nashville” article from this morning. Nashville’s starting to look like the U.S. version of Edmonton and Winnipeg – except there’s actually stuff to do there.

    • elrock7 - Jul 2, 2014 at 7:27 PM

      yeah you can mosey on down to any number of country bars, I reckon

  8. bmoreredfury311 - Jul 2, 2014 at 6:59 PM

    Good luck Grabo. Kinda was hoping he wouldn’t be in our division if we didn’t re-sign. Ooooh well.

  9. rjmisles1980 - Jul 2, 2014 at 7:08 PM

    If, as this article suggests, that Grabovski is 2C, where does that leave Frans Nielsen? Possible trade bait for a top D-Man after his career year?

    • canadiansportsfan77 - Jul 2, 2014 at 8:25 PM

      I doubt Neilson gets moved. Their defensive game is too weak to be trading away their top two way forward.

      But it should let Neilson form a strong 3rd line with grabs and clutterbuck assuming conacher is playing with tavares and okposo. It very well could be Bailey with one of nelson or strome for a top d men

      • bcisleman - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:06 PM

        Frans is likely on the third line & Lee top LW. Other Fs may be trade bait.

      • islesjb - Jul 2, 2014 at 11:25 PM

        yeah no way they get rid of Franz- 3rd line center is a better fit for his 2 way style of play

  10. pj608 - Jul 2, 2014 at 7:23 PM

    They only got these guys so they werent under the cap minimum… Which they should of got defenders. Not Forwards. If they make the play offs… IF they will be a 1 round knock out per usual

    • pj608 - Jul 3, 2014 at 8:17 AM

      Lots of islander fans hating the truth i see…. Just remember this post when March and April time comes around.

  11. djshnooks - Jul 2, 2014 at 7:38 PM

    That’s hilarious people think Grabovski, Kulemin, Halak, Brennen and Conacher make the Islanders any better than they were last year with Vanek or Moulson.

    Still going to finish at least in the lottery, which still gives the Sabres that chance.

    But, the fact you try to stick up for Garth Snow and say he hasn’t failed at several trades, twice on Vanek…says enough. He will be fired by season’s end, if not before.

    Have fun with Conacher and Brennen! Lol.

    • bcisleman - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:08 PM

      WOW…are you clueless!!!

    • tuberippin - Jul 3, 2014 at 2:11 AM

      Hey, remember when the Sabres had all that talent in the mid-00s (Briere, Drury, Campbell, Miller, Vanek, Roy, Pominville, Kotalik, Afinogenov, Hecht, Stafford)? They won the Presidents’ Trophy in ’06-’07 and beat the Isles and Rangers in successive rounds, and still didn’t take any hardware home?

      Given that, I could see why you’d be a bitter fan.

  12. kev86 - Jul 2, 2014 at 7:49 PM

    Bobby Nystrom likes these signings. Go Isles!

  13. frozenpondwater - Jul 2, 2014 at 8:51 PM

    I was wondering who they were going to overpay to reach the floor, but at the end the roster looks better than I thought.Now they just need to make the playoffs to get that draft pick upgraded!

  14. cantescapekarma - Jul 2, 2014 at 8:52 PM

    Pretty decent signings. Much better than yesterday’s… I still feel pretty good about Buffalo holding the Isles 1st round pick next year. Still pretty confident that it will be a draft lottery pick. Sorry Islanders fans, it’s not that I enjoy rooting gazi at you guys, I just really want McDavid and/or Eichek in Buffalo. After this season I will have nothing against the NYI and actually hope your team turns things around (but just not till after this coming season is all). I know it seems to piss you Isles fans off that us Buffalo fans are kind of rooting against you. But come on, tell me you guys wouldn’t be doing the same thing if you held out 1st round pick next year.
    Hey, if Garth Snow ends up making some more moves to shore up the D, you may want to think about thanking Buffalo. After all, would any of these changes (for the better) even be taking place if Garth wasn’t terrified of giving Buffalo a high 1st pick next year…? LoL

    • bcisleman - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:10 PM

      It isn’t mostly about that at all, although it does make a good story. Wang is looking to sell part ownership & wants to boost the team’s value going into Brooklyn in 2015.

      • cantescapekarma - Jul 2, 2014 at 11:20 PM

        Yeah that probably has more to do with it than anything else. Winner = job, loser = no job for Garth Snow.
        I am watching similar things happen with The Buffalo Bills this year. Doug Whaley is doing everything he can to put a winner on the field this season in order to try and keep his job once there’s a new owner in place. We just lost Kiko Alonso for the entire season though. It’s tough being a Buffao sports fan lol.

  15. buddysguys - Jul 3, 2014 at 7:54 AM

    not impressed

    still a bottom 5 team.

  16. kev86 - Jul 4, 2014 at 6:11 PM

    Islanders fans can handle the truth just like they can handle having a dynasty – WELL. The Islanders look pretty good and rising. That is the truth. Buffalo stinks.

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