Following Wednesday's announcement of a potential new arena, Islanders fans got another nugget of news to smile about.
Michael Grabner, who scored 34 goals as a rookie this past season, signed a five-year deal with the Islanders. According to multiple sources, the deal is worth $15 million.
“I think on the heels of what transpired two days ago regarding the new building, Michael committing to being part of the organization means great things are on the horizon here,” general manager Garth Snow told Newsday. “We all recognized the fact he’s a dynamic player. It’s no mistake he produced the way he did with his speed, skill set and hockey sense. We’re excited that he’s committed to the next five years here.
“Whether it’s [Grabner] or, earlier this year Moulson, Jurcina or Parenteau, we’ll step up to the plate when the time is right,” Snow said. “I speak for the organization and our fan base in saying that it’s a great day for everyone involved.”
In classic Grabner fashion, the 23-year-old Austrian winger announced the news via his Twitter account Friday morning.
"It's great to be here for another five years and to be part of this group, this organization, especially with a new building coming. It's an exciting time for fans," Grabner told Newsday when reached by telephone Friday morning.
Claimed off waivers by the Islanders from Florida in October, Grabner proved to be the steal of the season. The former first-round pick quickly became a pivotal part of the Islanders offense with his speed and skill and earned Fastest Skater honors at the league's All-Star weekend in Raleigh, N.C.
The new deal capped a banner year for Grabner, which also included his nomination as a candidate for the Calder trophy -- the NHL's award for the Rookie of the Year -- and the birth of his first child, Aidan Johann Grabner.
"It was a roller coaster at the beginning of the year, but ever since, it's only been going upwards," Grabner said. "This is the icing on the cake."
With Grabner entering this off-season as a restricted free agent, the Islanders needed only to extend him a qualifying offer to retain his rights, but they decided instead to reward him with a lengthy contract.
"It's nice that they have the confidence in me to give me a five-year deal," Grabner said. "I'm just going to try to be better and build off this season. We have a lot of talent in the room. I hope we have a strong season and that I'm a part of it."
The breakdown has Grabner making $1 million in 2011-12 and escalating a million per year, peaking at $5 million in 2015-16, the NHLPA confirmed.
The deal indicates a commitment to keep the team's emerging young core intact for years to come. The Islanders also locked up the team's second leading goal-scorer, top-line winger Matt Moulson, to a three-year $9.4 million contract extension earlier this season and extended defenseman Milan Jurcina and right wing PA Parenteau as well.
Coupled with Wednesday's news on a potential new arena to replace the antiquated Nassau Coliseum in 2015, the Islanders feel they have taken some significant steps to build this team for the future.