The New York Islanders didn't stop with necessary additions to the roster on day one of free agency. On day two, the Islanders signed Mikhail Grabovski the former Washington Capital and Nikolai Kulemin a former Toronto Maple Leaf both to four-year contracts.
Grabovski, 30, put up 35 points (13 goals and 22 assists) in 58 games last season with the Capitals. He has spent 8 seasons in the National Hockey League, playing with the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leaf’s and the Washington Capitals before becoming a New York Islander on July 2nd. In 425 games he has a total 252 points (107 goals, 145 assists) and a -1 overall.
Nikolai Kulemin, 27, scored 20 points (9 goals and 11 assists) with the Toronto Maple Leaf’s last season. He has spent six seasons in the NHL with the Maple Leaf’s before becoming an Islander on July 2nd, playing 421 games and putting up 195 total points (85 goals, 11 assists).
These two forwards aren't going to be foreign to the Islanders organization, however. Assistant coach Greg Cronin coached both Grabovski and Kulemin for three seasons while playing for the Maple Leaf’s. One of Grabovski’s biggest skills Cronin says will be his dominance on the face-off. For the past three seasons Grabovski has won over 50% of his face-offs; last year he had a 54% success percentage. Cronin also says that Kulemin’s size (6’1 and 225 pounds), presence in front of the net and hard hitting play style will fit well for the Islanders.
Another plus with drafting the former Maple Leaf’s teammates is the chemistry they already have going into the next season. The aggressive play styles and experience will surely add some physicality on the ice and some wisdom in the locker room for this young Islanders team.