It’s been a good year for Michael Grabner. After his season started off rocky being traded from Vancouver to Florida and then being waived by the Panthers and picked up by the Islanders, he went on to score 34 goals for the Isles and on his way to a potential Calder Trophy. Add that on top of announcing the birth of his son to the world via Twitter and that makes for a solid year for anyone.
Things got better today for Grabner as the potential restricted free agent signed a five year contract with the Islanders to stay in New York and provide the offensive spark for the team. Katie Strang of New York Newsday reports that the deal is worth $15 million, an amount that would be good for a $3 million a year hit against the salary cap.
This deal by the Isles is a solid one for their fans worried about the team’s commitment to the future that is potentially hanging in the balance thanks to their arena referendum. After all, if the referendum isn’t approved by voters on August 1, it might seem a bit out of hand to have such a commitment. Of course, if the referendum doesn’t pass, the Isles have other problems on their hands.
It’s also a major commitment for Grabner after one big season in the NHL. The Isles have to hope there’s not a sophomore slump next season and one that might linger on after that. Considering Grabner’s usefulness both at even strength and shorthanded, he might have a permanent spot in the lineup regardless.
For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”
On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.
With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.
“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”
As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.
It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.
Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?
We’ll know in a month.
Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:
The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.
The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.
If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.
Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”
And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.
While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.