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The Skinny: Grabovski and Kulemin

by Eric Hornick / New York Islanders

The Isles made a big splash on Day Two of the Free Agent Frenzy, signing forwards Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin to nearly-matching 4 year contracts.

Here's some Skinny on the two newest Islanders:

Mikhail Grabovski joins his third team in three years. The Toronto Maple Leafs bought out Grabovksi one year after signing him to a long-term contract. “Grabbo” spent last season with the Capitals before he become an unrestricted free agent. Grabovski has recorded 107-145-252 in 425 NHL games; his best season came in 2010-11, when he went 29-29-58 for the Leafs, as a linemate of Nikolai Kulemin.

The analytics guys love Grabovski; his career 5-on-5 Corsi is 52.6%; he led all NHL forwards (minimum 50 games) in Corsi-for % this past season. He went 13-22-35 in 58 games for the Caps last season -- but he saw little time on the PP (1:26 per game) with Washington. While he was born in East Germany, Grabovski grew up in Belarus and put up some big numbers for his country in the World Championships. With his home country playing host this past May, he went 4-4-8, +4 in six games, including three game-winning goals.

Face-offs are a big part of Grabovski's game; he won 54% last season (no Islander won more than he lost).

Nikolai Kulemin will turn 28 later this month. Kulemin joins the Isles after spending his entire NHL career with the Leafs. He has gone 84-111-195 in 425 games. However, Kulemin went 61-63-124 in his first three seasons but is only 23-48-71 in 188 games over the last three seasons.

Kulemin, who scored 30 goals in 2010-11 also has significant international experience (for Russia); he scored seven points in 10 games for Russia in the 2014 World Championships, and also played for the team in the 2014 Olympics. Kulemin will need a new number as his #41 is already taken by Jaroslav Halak.

Tuesday’s additions brings the total to six players that were not with the Isles at the end of last season that have one-way contracts for the upcoming campaign.

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