Colin McDonald has earned his spot with Islanders

Islanders right wing Colin McDonald brings the puck

Islanders right wing Colin McDonald brings the puck up ice in the first period. (March 5, 2013) (Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan)

Travel deals

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Colin McDonald's goal for this season was probably different than most Islanders who assembled for the team's weeklong, makeshift training camp two months ago.

But midway through his first extended time in the NHL, the 28-year-old McDonald, with four goals and six assists while averaging the second-fewest minutes per game (10:21) of any forward, achieved his goal: stability. That came in the form of a two-year contract worth $1.275 million, and both years on a one-way deal.

"It's taken me a few years to get to this level, and this is definitely a gratifying feeling," McDonald said Saturday. "I finally got that one-way contract, but it doesn't change my mind-set. I go out there to prove myself every night."

McDonald is the second veteran AHLer to earn a multiple-year deal this season with the Islanders. Injured defenseman Brian Strait is the other. Depth has long been an issue for the Islanders and general manager Garth Snow is trying to add depth by plugging holes before the frenzy of this coming offseason, when the salary cap drops by $6 million.

McDonald returned to the lineup Saturday after missing a game with a virus.

Poulin stays patient

Evgeni Nabokov made his ninth consecutive start Saturday and, save for the final 20 minutes of Sunday's 6-1 loss to the Penguins in Pittsburgh, Kevin Poulin has been idle since his lone start of the season, a 4-2 loss to the Hurricanes on Feb. 24.

"I've said it before, this is something every goalie does in their career," Poulin said. "My job is to be ready when they need me right now. I had a full season [starting in Bridgeport] so far, unlike the guys who had the lockout. I'll be fine."

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