Two days after plans were announced to construct a new home for the Islanders, the team ensured that a major building block for its future will be on the ice when the new arena is christened.
, the team’s leading goal-scorer this past season, committed to the Isles for five more years, guaranteeing he’ll be around for that shiny new rink’s opening in 2015-16.
“I’m really happy knowing I’ll be staying here on Long Island,” Grabner said. “It feels good. The new arena’s going to be exciting – for the fans and for me. I was hoping that I could stay here a while and it worked out.”
I want to be a part of the solution and a piece of the puzzle. - Michael Grabner
The signing makes Grabner the second top scorer on the Islanders in the last four months to opt for a long-term deal to stay on Long Island rather than becoming an unrestricted free agent. Matt Moulson
, who ranked second on the Isles in goals with his second straight 30-goal season, signed a three-year deal at the end of January.
“I’m excited to be a part of the future success here and I’m working to build on this year,” Grabner said. “We have a lot of young, talented, core players in the room. We have a great chemistry in the room and on the ice like we showed the last couple months, so hopefully most of these guys will stick around for a couple years and we’ll get some winning going.”
That winning is a special feeling with any team, but after Vancouver and Florida passed on the Austrian winger prior to last season, trading and waiving him, respectively, winning with the Isles would mean that much more to Grabner.
“They gave me a chance in the beginning of the year and stuck with me,” Grabner said. “They let me get comfortable and just let me play. Hopefully we’ll win a Cup down the line. I want to be a part of the solution and a piece of the puzzle.”
For Isles fans, the contract means five more years of blazing speed, highlight-reel goals and classic tweeting. Add to that a brand new, state-of-the-art arena and something extraordinary is coming together on Long Island.
“The announcement of the new arena made this decision a lot easier,” Grabner said. “I like this area and I can’t wait to play here for the next five years.”
It’s only the middle of May, but with a long-term deal for a rising superstar and the declaration of a new arena, this off-season is shaping up to be one of the most memorable in Islanders history.