Johnny Boychuk has cashed in.
On Thursday, the Islanders announced they’ve signed Boychuk, their leading d-man scorer, to a seven-year, $42 million extension that carries an average annual cap hit of $6 million.
With the deal, Boychuk becomes the Islanders’ highest-paid player and remains locked in with the team through the 2021-22 campaign — much like fellow blueliner Nick Leddy, who inked a seven-year, $38.5 million deal a few weeks ago.
Boychuk, 31, came to the Islanders via trade just prior to the start of the regular season after a six-year stint with Boston. He emerged as a valuable, dependable blueliner with the B’s but has expanded upon that role on Long Island, having already set a career-high in points (32) despite only playing 59 games this season.
The new deal represents a significant raise from the $3.3M Boychuk was making annually on his previous deal, and is a nice agreement for both sides. Boychuk could’ve tested free agency this summer and would’ve likely gotten equal — if not higher — contract offers; Isles GM Garth Snow wasn’t prepared to let that happen, however, and locked in a stalwart defenseman at a reasonable cap hit in exchange for term (Boychuk will be 38 by the time this deal expires, which eventually could prove to be an issue.)
For the present and immediate future, though, the Isles appear to be set on defense. Boychuk now joins a core that includes the 23-year-old Leddy, 24-year-old Travis Hamonic (signed through 2020) and 23-year-old Calvin De Haan (signed through 2017); the club also has a slew of defensive prospects on the horizon, including former top-15 picks Ryan Pulock and Griffin Reinhart.