The New York Islanders were active on the opening day of free agency, addressing needs both up front and on the blue line Sunday.
Defenseman Matt Carkner agreed to a three-year, $4.5 million deal with the Isles after the Colorado Avalanche announced he had signed with them. The 6-foot-4, 229-pound player spent the past five seasons in the Ottawa Senators' organization and had a goal, two assists and 33 penalty minutes in 29 regular-season games last season. He also had an assist and 21 penalty minutes in four playoff games for the Sens, who lost in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the New York Rangers.
"We're very happy to add Matt to our defensive core for the next three seasons," Islanders general manager Garth Snow said. "He brings good size and toughness to our blue line."
There was some confusion earlier Sunday when the Avs announced via Twitter they had signed the bruising defenseman. Shortly thereafter, though, Carkner struck a deal with the Islanders.
"It was pretty early on in the day and I don't know if they were trying to exchange information for my address to make an official offer, and somewhere along the line someone must have confused Colorado, saying that maybe I accepted the deal," Carkner told NHL.com. "I never told anyone that, but things like this happen. We called Colorado and apologized right away. We didn't mean to mislead them at all. It ended up a couple of hours later, I agreed to terms with the Islanders."
Carkner felt more comfortable about signing with the Islanders after having conversations with Snow and senior adviser/assistant coach Doug Weight. With a young family to take care of, Carkner and his wife just needed some assurance that Long Island was a good fit.
"Garth Snow took the time to actually talk to my wife, and Doug Weight gave us a call as well," Carkner said. "They tried to set us at ease about what Long Island is like for family and raising kids because they know I have young kids. He took a little extra effort there to try to let me know what it was like. This was kind of just the right feeling."
Carkner joins a blue line that features Mark Streit, Lubomir Visnovsky, Travis Hamonic and Andrew MacDonald. Calvin de Haan, Matt Donovan and Aaron Ness are also expected to compete for playing time. It's a group Carkner is happy to be a part of.
"I kind of knew of teams that were looking for me and I was excited to hear that they were going to be interested," Carkner said of the Isles. "I think I heard that just after 12 (p.m.) today that they were going to be sending an offer. It was good. I had a lot of different teams talking to me, and it took me a while to kind of decide and figure out what was the best fit for me. It was a little hectic, but it all worked out."
Searching for more scoring depth up front, the Isles signed winger Brad Boyes to a one-year deal worth $1 million. Boyes, 30, had eight goals and 15 assists in 65 games for the Buffalo Sabres in 2011-12. A former first-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs (No. 24) in 2000, Boyes scored 43 goals for the St. Louis Blues in 2007-08. He had 33 goals the following season, but has battled injuries in recent years.
"We're extremely excited to add a player of Brad's caliber to our team," Snow said. "He's a gifted offensive player who will add a scoring touch to our lineup."
Newsday's Arthur Staple reported via Twitter that the Islanders have agreed to a one-year deal with forward Eric Boulton. The 35-year-old had no points and 115 penalty minutes in 51 games for the New Jersey Devils last season. Staple reported the deal will become official once Boulton -- who has 1,265 penalty minutes in 600 NHL games -- clears waivers.
Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL