Islanders Sign Nino Niederreiter; No Progress on New Arena

"See your future, be your future, Nino. May-- make. Make your future."

"All he’s got to focus on is playing his game and playing well," [GM Garth] Snow said. "He played extremely well last week in Boston, the rookie games. He’s obviously a big body, that’s something that he has in his favor going in to training camp and his skill set (is also very high)."

>>Islanders official site

As expected, the New York Islanders agreed to a three-year entry-level contract with top 2010 pick Nino Niederreiter, which they announced at today's media day. Terms weren't disclosed, but you can expect they'll be in the rookie-max range of $800,000 to $900,000 base (NHL) salary, plus signing and performance bonuses. Last year's top pick John Tavares received a $900,000 base, and CapGeek says Nino's Portland Winterhawk teammate Ryan Johansen received the same base (though smaller bonuses) from Columbus this summer.

The first year of the deal will kick in as soon as Nino plays 10 NHL games in a single season -- if that's not this year, he'll draw on the signing bonus but the rest of the cap hit will be kicked forward a year. However, given the Islanders recent history with top-10 forward picks it'd be no surprise to see him hit that mark this year. Newsday's Katie Strang thinks that's "a very good shot."

Also in the Islanders write-up, Scott Gordon cautions every situation is different:

We look at Josh (Bailey) and we look at John (Tavares and those were both) different situations. And Nino’s situation will probably be different too."

Tavares and Bailey were drafted at the tougher center position, and both were nearly a year older than Nino is at their respective first NHL training camps.


Lighthouse Project? Status Quo

Also at today's media day, Charles Wang spoke on the arena situation for the first time in quite a while. Naturally, there isn't really any news there. The lease is the lease, and Town of Hempstead is Town of Hempstead. Per Newsday online:

"We have a lease until 2015 and we're going to be here until 2015 ... We'll look at other options but right now our focus is on the hockey season."

I stand by my take when this was discussed in a recent FanPost: Right now, given zero ToH movement, as it has been for years the lease expiration date of 2015 is what will really move things. Wang, via a Chris Botta tweet, almost sounds resigned to same, saying, per Botta:

"Wang: Gary Bettman told him years ago 'expiring lease is your best asset.'"

Possibly sad, but likely true.

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