Isles expected to give Grabner good deal
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BOSTON -- For Michael Grabner, who scored twice in the Islanders' 3-2 loss to the Bruins Wednesday, this season has been full of milestones.
Within a matter of months, the 23-year-old winger went from waiver-wire steal to 30-goal scorer. Representing the Islanders at the All-Star Game, he dazzled by capturing the Fastest Skater competition. His 50-point campaign (33 goals, 17 assists) has him among the short list of Rookie of the Year candidates. And most recently, he became a father to son, Aidan Johann Grabner.
Most likely a new contract.
Plucking him off waivers from Florida during the last year of his three-year, entry-level deal, the Islanders need only to extend Grabner a qualifying offer to retain his rights. But following his breakout 2010-11 season, the Islanders are expected to offer him a multiyear deal.
Would that be a cherry on top for what has already been a momentous season?
"For sure," Grabner said Wednesday. "Obviously I want to stay in this city and be with this organization. Hopefully we can get something done here."
According to a source familiar with the situation, formal contract discussions are expected to start once the season ends.
Roofing one past Tim Thomas on the power play at 3:24, Grabner tied the game at 1 in the second period to reclaim the lead among league rookies with his 32nd goal. Later in the second, Grabner netted his 33rd -- shorthanded -- to surpass Bryan Trottier for second place on the Islanders all-time rookie goal-scoring list at 14:26.
With two games remaining and the accolades piling up, Grabner has given his future on Long Island considerable thought.
"Especially at this stage in the year, with [two games] left and nothing for next year yet," he said. "I know my agent is doing his job and hopefully we can figure something out and come to an agreement."
When he was claimed in October, he joined his third team in a little over three months. He acclimated quickly and his play flourished.
Known for his speed, his humorous Twitter updates and love of naps, Grabner has carved out a significant role among the team's young, talented core. Having that level of comfort, he said, helped him become the player that prompted Vancouver to draft him 14th in the first round in 2006.
"We all have a lot in common on the ice and off the ice," Grabner said. " It's a great mix in here. Everyone enjoys coming to the rink and working for each other. It makes it a lot easier. I felt really comfortable playing with [Frans Nielsen] all year and I think we've got some chemistry."
Notes & quotes: Defenseman Matt Campanale was signed to an emergency-basis NHL amateur tryout. Campanale, who recently finished his senior season at University of New Hampshire, made his NHL debut in place of injured defenseman Jack Hillen (shoulder).