New York Islanders Sign Nikolai Kulemin, Mikhail Grabovski to 4-Year Free Agent Contracts

"We escaped!" - Rick Stewart

Well, those are moves.

The New York Islanders have signed forwards Nikolai Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski to four-year contracts. Brett Cyrgalis of the Post reports Grabovski's is for $20 million total, while Kulemin's is $16.75 million over the same span.

Both are former Toronto Maple Leafs forwards -- though Grabovski had a detour through Washington after the Leafs famously bought him out -- and each played there under returning Islanders assistant coach Greg Cronin.

These are fascinating additions in tandem (and they were reportedly shopping themselves in a package deal), as they add some skill to the Islanders lineup and immediately intensify the competition for jobs going into this fall's training camp. (Or trades?)

Grabovski, 30, is a center -- where the Islanders are already deep -- but he is skilled enough where you could see him and left wing Kulemin, 27, creating options throughout the Islanders' top nine.

These are not star upgrades, but they are quite clearly upgrades. Silly season has just gotten more interesting on Long Island.

* * *

A plea to commenters, old and new: Try assessing this on the merits of the deal and/or what they add to the lineup, rather than chewing each other out about who was right about what would happen or not happen when, mmkay?

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