Michael Grabner turned some heads with a stellar rookie season in the National Hockey League, and might raise some eyebrows with his new contract.
The New York Islanders have signed Grabner to a five-year contract, the forward reported on his Twitter account Friday, after he led the team with 34 goals this past season. The deal is reportedly worth $15 million US and will pay Grabner $1 M next season; $2 million in 2012-13; $3 million in 2013-14; $4 million in 2014-15 and $5 million in 2015-16.
"I'm really happy knowing I'll be staying here on Long Island, especially after Wednesday's news of a new arena," said Grabner, who was eligible for restricted free agency on July 1.
"We have a lot of young, talented players who came together last year and I am thrilled to have the chance to be a part of getting this team back to the playoffs."
Players on Twitter
MMoulson (Matt Moulson)
- Wohoo! Just got out of workout and saw the news..Congrats to@grabs40! Well deserved so happy for the Gremlin
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!!!!!
grabs40 (Michael Grabner)
- Thanks everyone.really excited to be here another 5 years and for the new arena.thanks again everyone!!!!
Grabner, 23, also had 18 assists for a 52-point campaign and recently was named a finalist for league rookie of the year honours with Carolina's Jeff Skinner and San Jose Logan Couture.
Grabner made his NHL debut last season playing 20 games with Vancouver.
The Canucks traded the Austrian to Florida in the off-season but New York claimed him off of waivers on Oct. 5 and Grabner scored six of his 34 goals with his team short-handed.
Grabner put himself in contention for the rookie scoring title with a run of 16 goals in 15 games from Jan. 15 to Feb. 15.
After being the Islanders' only representative at NHL all-star weekend, when he was selected along with other rookies to take part in the skills competition, Grabner scored 10 goals during a hot streak in February in which he had a goal in six consecutive games.
Grabner won the league's fastest skater competition during all-star weekend in Raleigh, N.C. He also posted a team-best plus-13 rating, and had the fewest penalty minutes (10) of any Islanders player who was in at least 21 games.
"Michael showed last season that he is an elite player in this league," Islanders general manager Garth Snow said in a statement. "In addition to providing speed and skill to our offence, he's worked hard to elevate the defensive side of his game to become an all-around player."
The Islanders missed the playoffs for the fourth straight season and fifth time in six seasons. New York (30-39-13) has finished last in the Atlantic Division four consecutive seasons, and had the fourth-fewest points in the NHL. The Islanders will have a top-five draft pick for the fourth straight year.
In other Islanders news, plans were announced this week that would provide the team with a new arena in several years, if the deal is approved by voters in August. The optimism surrounding the team helped Grabner make his decision to stay.