The New York Islanders made a huge move toward showing they are serious about returning to being a playoff-caliber team Friday, signing leading goal-scorer Michael Grabner to a five-year contract.
Grabner, 23, was claimed off waivers by the Islanders from the Florida Panthers just before the start of 2010-11 season. He topped NHL rookies in goals with 34 and his 52 points in 76 games was fourth on the Islanders and third among the league's first-year players.
"Michael showed last season that he is an elite player in this league," Islanders general manager Garth Snow said in a statement. "In addition to providing speed and skill to our offense, he's worked hard to elevate the defensive side of his game to become an all-around player."
Over at Lighthouse Hockey, SB Nation's Islanders website, the news of Grabner's signing was greeted enthusiatically.
The Islanders, Garth Snow and Charles Wang are continuing to show they are serious about their rebuild by inking Calder Trophy candidate and 34 goal scorer Michael Grabner for a half decade at a reasonable cap hit (if the numbers are accurate) of 3 million per. ... Don't underestimate what the $ and length of this contract can symbolize for future free agent signings, the commitment to the arena situation and the commitment to the people of Long Island.
The Islanders missed the playoffs in 2010-2011 for the fourth straight season and fifth time in six seasons.