The Islanders, Garth Snow and Charles Wang are continuing to show they are serious about their rebuild by inking Calder Trophy candidate and 34 goal scorer Michael Grabner for a half decade at a reasonable cap hit (if the numbers are accurate) of 3 million per. After being traded (Vancouver Canucks to Florida Panthers) and waived (by the Panthers) last year, this has to bea shot of confidence and security for Grabner. One could assume that Garth Snow wanted to wrap this one up quickly before anyone had an opportunity to throw an offer sheet out there (hey, it could happen) and show his commitment to his players and the future. Don't underestimate what the $ and length of this contract can symbolize for future free agent signings, the commitment to the arena situation and the commitment to the people of Long Island. Grabner had this to say via twitter.
@grabs40 Michael Grabner
I am happy to announce that I will be an Islander for the next five years.new building,new contract and new baby.what a great year!!!!!
Indeed @grabs40, indeed, helluva year!
We've sung the praises of the speedy Austrian in a number of spots; our awards roundtable for Selke, Garik 16's Calder debate and in our LHH Calder discussion. There is really very little left to discuss on the merits of Mike. He was awesome this year!
"Michael showed last season that he is an elite player in this league," said Islanders General Manager Garth Snow. "In addition to providing speed and skill to our offense, he’s worked hard to elevate the defensive side of his game to become an all around player."
Having a player as media friendly, accessible and also, as skilled as Grabner may go a long way toward assisting the push for the arena bond deal. Having young personable players sell the team and the plan to the young voters may help to get this thing through. As we all know, Grabs has been nothing but outgoing and active with the community and has a huge social media following...all of this works for me...also, did I mention those 34 goals?
Pierre LeBrun is reporting the specifics of the deal as:
Real_ESPNLeBrun Pierre LeBrunDeal pays Grabner $1 M next season; $2 M in 12-13; $3 M in 13-14; $4 M in 14-15 and $5 Million in 15-16
The timing of Grabner's signing also comes on and NHL off day...just like the arena announcement. Maybe the PR department is getting itself together at exactly the right time. Two big positive announcements in two days where there may be little other news? I like where this is going. Next on the ledger are offers for RFAs Josh Bailey, Kyle Okposo, Blake Comeau and Ty Wishart and some UFA assessment to work out for Zenon Konopka, Trevor Gillies, Micheal Haley, Jesse Joensuu and a few others I'm sure I'm forgetting. Stay busy Garth...If you keep building it...
Grabner: video reaction interview from the team site. (Which doesn't appear to be working)
Strang's Updated Newsday Article (5$)
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."
Short Botta report/reaction at IPB
And @DonCherryParody had this to say.