On Wednesday a $400 million plan for a new arena was announced. On Friday, the Calder Trophy nominated rookie sensation was locked up for five years.
Whoa ... almost had positive news for the New York Islanders on consecutive days, which would have broken some kind of cosmic rule, we think.
Michael Grabner attended the press conference announcing the arena complex deal, which was a decent clue that the restricted free agent winger wasn't going anywhere. He announced the following on his Twitter feed on Friday morning:
"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!!!!!"
Five exclamation points is an indication he really means it.
The 5-year, $15 million deal with the Islanders will pay him $1 million next season, $2 million in 2012-13, $3 million in 2013-14, $4 million in 2014-15 and — wait for it — $5 million in 2015-16, for an annual cap hit of $3 million, according to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun. That last year may be when the Islanders are getting new revenue streams from a new building.
Here's Grabner on the deal:A video or other embedded content has been hidden. Click here to view it.
Grabner's is a redemption story, as he was unable to latch on with the Vancouver Canucks, was traded to the Florida Panthers, was unceremoniously placed on waivers after training camp and then snatched up by the Islanders. He led all rookies with 34 goals, which were also the best on the Islanders, and also led rookies with six shorthanded goals.
Any long-term deal with a player that has one fabulous season to his credit — and in a contract year, no less — is a risk. But at the same time, it's inspiring to see both player and team make this commitment. It's a message to the fans: We're building something here, both on the ground (depending on the voters) and in our dressing room.