Garth Snow tried to be aggressive on July 1. He sent multi-year offers to Dan Boyle, Jarome Iginla and Thomas Vanek, hoping to entice the three veterans to come to Long Island, but they decided to sign with teams who made the playoffs last season.
According to Newsday's Arthur Staple, Kulemin's deal is worth $16.75 million, while Grabovski is getting $20 million. They'll be reunited with new Islanders assistant coach Greg Cronin, who was in Toronto with them.
The Penguins were thought to have interest in Kulemin, who's good friends with Evgeni Malkin, but the contract parameters likely weren't there given the number of one-year deals Pittsburgh handed out on Tuesday. "There’s always a chance but it would take someone getting very, very creative to figure out how that contract fits into our cap,” GM Jim Rutherford said.
Grabovski spent last season with the Washington Capitals after being bought out by the Maple Leafs and scored 13 goals and 35 points in 58 games. He'll help improve an Islanders team who was 47-percent successful in face-offs last season, good enough for 26th in the NHL. The 30-year old has been 50-percent or better in each of the last three seasons.
Do these moves put the Islanders in the playoffs in the Eastern Conference? It certainly puts them the mix. Snow has gone out this summer and solved their goaltending situation and added offensive support for John Tavares and Kyle Okposo. The next step? Fixing the defense. T.J. Brennan isn't the answer and while Lubomir Visnovsky will aid the power play and Travis Hamonic is developing into a top-end shutdown man, there's still work to be done there.
But it's a start for Snow. A very good start.
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