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Barzal agrees to eight-year contract with Islanders

The kid who is about to get paid

NHL: New York Rangers at New York Islanders Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

New York Islanders announced on Tuesday that Mathew Barzal has agreed to terms on an eight-year contract with the team.

The deal is worth $73.2 million. The cap hit of the deal is $9.12 million annually. Barzal was set to become a restricted free agent following the upcoming season.

“I genuinely (love it here). I think anyone who plays here knows that it’s one of the top places to play in the league” Barzal told reporters Tuesday. “From the practice rink we have, UBS (Arena), the boys in the room, Lou being here, a fresh coaching staff, the city itself — the lifestyle is elite.”

Drafted 16th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft, Barzal has 91 goals, 220 assists in six seasons on the Island. He was awarded the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie in the 2017-18. Barzal recorded a career-high 85 points in head coach Doug Weight’s final season. The 25-year-old has not come close to matching that total in the past five seasons.

The British Columbia native quickly became the face of the franchise following the departure of former captain John Tavares, who signed a seven-year deal with Toronto in 2018.

In comments to media, Barzal said he simply “love[s] it here” on Long Island, loves the fanbase, the organization, the team and the location. But it was also important to get a deal done before he went into a RFA-walk year:

“It was important for my mindset,” Barzal said. “Anytime you go into that year and want to prove yourself and to sign that big deal, but it’s a lot of individualistic thoughts, throughout the year you’re playing mostly for yourself. I’m so glad I can get this done and play for the team and just commit to winning.”

Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello shared that goal — to sign Barzal long term prior to the start of the season. “I think if we didn’t get it done before the season it would have lingered,” he said. “It becomes a distraction. I don’t like distractions.”