Normally Fiscally Conscious Club Shoots Payroll Well Above Salary Cap Floor

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Islanders’ payroll is currently ranked 17th in the NHL.

That may seem like a fairly benign statistic to most, but to the fans of this beleaguered franchise it’s a further sign of a philosophical shift in thinking.

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The Islanders locked up two more pieces of their present and future on Tuesday, inking restricted free agents Calvin de Haan and Casey Cizikas to multi-year contracts, the team announced.

De Haan, a defenseman who had 16 points in 51 games after being called up from AHL Bridgeport last season, got a three-year, $5.9 million contract, while Cizikas, a valued depth center, got a two-year, $2 million deal, Newsday reported.

Long a team that barely operated above the salary cap floor, the Islanders now have a payroll in excess of $58 million for the 2014-15 season, or roughly $8 million above the floor. Over the last six weeks the Islanders have continued an aggressive trend of spending money in an attempt to complement their seemingly endless rebuild, signing, among others, goaltender Jaroslav Halak (four years, $18 million), center Mikhail Grabovski (five years, $25 million) and left wing Nikolai Kulemin (four years, $16.75 million).

De Haan and Cizikas have long been considered important parts of the Islanders’ future. Selected No. 12 overall in the 2009 draft, de Haan, 23, figures to log top four minutes next season on the Isles’ blueline, while 23-year-old Cizikas, selected in the fourth round in ’09, will likely center the fourth line.

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Cizikas has 35 points in 140 career NHL games.

Earlier in the day the Islanders announced that defenseman Matt Donovan and forward Brett Gallant had both accepted their qualifying offers and that the club had waived  21-year-old forward Kirill Kabanov, who had played for Stockton of the ECHL and Bridgeport of the AHL over the last two seasons.

Goaltender Kevin Poulin is the Isles’ only unsigned restricted free agent from last season.

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