The Islanders have signed defenseman Andrew MacDonald to a 4-year contract extension.

MacDonald, 23, who has one goal and four assists in 38 games with the Islanders this year, has been more than a pleasant surprise as one of the team's emerging young defensemen.

"Andrew has played extremely well for us this season," general manager Garth Snow told Newsday. "We are excited about having him as part of our young core moving forward."

MacDonald, who is coming out of his entry-level deal, has seen his ice time sky-rocket and responsibilities steadily increase as the season progressed despite beginning the year in Bridgeport.

Since easing his way into play back in November, MacDonald now ranks sixth among Islanders in average ice time (19:46) and has averaged over 25 minutes the previous five games.

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"I'm thrilled," MacDonald said after receiving the news from his agent.

The deal affirms an ever-increasing  commitment by the Islanders to rebuild by developing their young players from within.

"Obviously they're going with a young team," MacDonald said. "They are developing their young guys well and when you see the young talent we have, the fact that they wanted to lock me up and be a part of that and grow as this team grows, that's exciting as a young player."