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Islanders Contract News: Christopher Gibson re-signs, 3rd-string goalie battle on

The last vestige of the Grabner trade stays on.

Buffalo Sabres v New York Islanders
Some prefer a Fender but it’s a matter of personal taste.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

There was no official announcement yet, but New York Islanders/Bridgeport Sound Tigers goalie Christopher Gibson has agreed to a new contract, according to Cap Friendly’s latest contract listings updated Thursday night.

His signing was expected — he was a restricted free agent who was qualified and thus his rights were protected — but the details shed a little more light on the battle for third-string goalie in the organization.

Behind incumbent NHL regulars Thomas Greiss and Jaroslav Halak (who spent time in the AHL last season, but that’s neither here nor Berube), you have AHL veteran Gibson, Eamon McAdam on the second year of his ELC for his age 23 season, and recent trade acquisition Kristers Gudlevskis.

(McAdam’s draft classmate and fellow Sound Tiger Stephon Williams was not qualified and becomes an unrestricted free agent.)

Looking at the contracts at Cap Friendly, you can see the weight of Gudlevskis’ 158 AHL games plus NHL experience: Though both Gibson and Gudlevskis have $650,000 NHL cap hit and salary rates, Gudlevskis has a $200,000 AHL salary, while Gibson re-signs at a $70,000 AHL rate. (That said, a minimum $80,000 is guaranteed.)

(McAdam has the highest NHL cap hit, $950,000, but that’s really a product of him being on an ELC. His AHL salary is $70,000, plus a signing bonus of $92,500 per year on the three-year ELC.)

Gibson has 106 AHL games of his own under his belt, plus four NHL appearances two seasons ago on emergency recall with the Isles. He was the primary piece, and now the last remaining one, of the five-for-one Michael Grabner salary dump.

So, in a nutshell: You have Gudlevskis, with the strongest resume of the three, Gibson with a similarly strong resume but coming off an injury that limited him to seven games in 2016-17 (and allegedly led the Isles to keep three goalies in the NHL), and the greener McAdam in his second full pro season.

The Isles’ new ECHL affiliation with the expansion Worcester Railers should make managing the playing time a little easier. Their established Greiss-Halak duo at the NHL level hopefully keeps this an emergency-only situation.