A couple of weeks ago, the Islanders made headlines signing Nick Leddy to a 7 year extension worth 5.5 million per season. While they were given praise for the contract, the questions still remained about pending UFA Johnny Boychuk. When he was acquired on October 4th, the same day as Leddy, many people gave the Islanders little to no chance to keep Boychuk beyond this season.
My sense of situation w/Johnny Boychuk & Isles is that there’s very little chance he will re-sign there after this season. He wants Cups
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) October 4, 2014
As it got deeper and deeper into the season, fans started to become nervous that we might have another Thomas Vanek on our hands in Boychuk. However, those concerns disappeared yesterday as it was announced that the Islanders had signed Boychuk to a 7 year extension worth 42 million dollars. Upon announcement, a collective breath was let out of most fans on Long Island. Kevin Allen from USA Today summed it up perfectly, “The New York Islanders 90 points suggest they have turned the corner as a team. Their resigning of defenseman Johnny Boychuk on Thursday says they have turned the corner as a franchise.” The deal includes 11 million in signing bonuses, including 5.5 to be paid out on July 1st this year, according to Pierre LeBrun from ESPN.
As recently as last season, the Islanders were still a place that not many people wanted to play. Even with the teams brief success in 2013, and the arena situation figured out, players were still not breaking down the door to play for the organization. However, in the last month that has changed drastically. While Leddy does have some impact on that signing so long into his prime years, Boychuk is really the story here. Boychuk is a well-respected player who would’ve commanded huge dollars on the open market as the league’s top UFA. For him to agree to stay with the team for such term shows his belief in the organization and the future direction of the team as well. This is something that I can all but guarantee you won’t go unnoticed by other players. It has taken long enough, but it seems like the tide is actually starting to turn up for the Islanders.
Snow Continues on Long Island
Up until this past summer, Garth Snow’s tenure with the Islanders had been pretty lackluster to say the least. However, this year, Snow decided to put his big boy pants on and has changed that drastically with his off-season acquisitions. The work by Snow is being seen in the standings as well with the Islanders in second place in the Metropolitan division. Snows work didn’t stop when the season started though, his moves at the trade deadline showed that he is doing all he can to make this final season special. Additionally, the signings of Leddy and Boychuk are just another pin in the hat of Snow for the season. If Snow isn’t nominated for executive of the year there are issues because if he doesn’t deserve it, who does?
This is What it Feels Like
For years, I had watched teams operate in all the major sports and I would always wonder why the Islanders didn’t operate the same. Why winning always seemed to be secondary for them instead of the primary objective like it should be. While I would occasionally get ridiculed for my beliefs, they never wavered and only got stronger as the years went on. All I wanted was for the Islanders to operate like any other NHL team and not find ways to cheat the system like they had been notorious for. Now that we are in that position where they operate like a real NHL team, it is a kind of weird feeling but exciting at the same time. What I had always hoped for is finally happening! This is a feeling I can get used to though and hope never goes away again.