Star forward Matthew Barzal and the New York Islanders have signed an eight-year contract, the team announced Tuesday.
Deal worth reporting AAV is $9.15 million per season.
Barzal was looking for an extension ahead of the regular season and that’s exactly what he got as he will now be the centerpiece of the Islanders for the next decade.
“I never talked to anyone about going anywhere else or playing it,” said Barzal. Andrew Gross of Newsday after the deal was finalized on Tuesday.
The 25-year-old was scheduled to become a restricted free agent at the end of the upcoming season and would now stabilize the Islanders’ long-term prospects. Barzal, one of the fastest skaters in the NHL and a high-profile playmaker entering his prime, is likely to be one of the hottest targets next summer. Securing an extension has always been a top priority for the islanders.
After signing the deal, Barzal revealed that his camp and the islanders had been negotiating for two months.
Barzal told reporters that he “obviously would very much like to make a deal” before training camp began.
“Hopefully there are still (three) weeks before the start of the season and we can come up with something. If not, then I’m not really worried about it, just because my heart is here and I know that we will get something fair and that both parties will be happy,” Barzal said via Kevin Kurtz of The Athletic September 22nd.
This is a deal that should work well for the Islanders, at least in the first half of the extension. Barzal is a terrific skater who excels at transitions thanks to his innate ability to find unprotected shots, even if that quality doesn’t always show up on the scoresheet.
There were occasional disappointments that Barzal never reached his rookie heights when he scored a career-best 85 points in 2017-18 to win the Calder Trophy, but we nitpick the dynamic scorer who tied for first place. The team leads with Anders Li last year with 59 points.
New York also had an objectively disappointing season, missing the playoffs for the first time since Barzal’s debut campaign. With a new contract that guarantees he’ll stay with the team until he’s 34, Barzal is going full steam ahead, no doubt looking to get New York back into a drawn-out playoff and write off last year as an anomaly.
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