NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A game of chicken had been going on for some time.
It finally ended Wednesday night.
On the eve of the beginning of training camp and with a team-imposed deadline to sign looming, forward Brock Nelson agreed to a three-year contract with the Islanders, the team announced.
Though the NHL deadline for signing contracts is Dec. 1, the Islanders have a policy that says a player must put pen to paper by the start of camp or else sit out the entire season.
Likely finally realizing he had no options, Nelson agreed to the pact, which is worth $7.5 million, according to Newsday.
The Islanders officially open camp Thursday with physicals. The first on-ice session is scheduled for 9:10 a.m. Friday.
Nelson finished last season with 20 goals and 42 points, but disappeared over a 50-game stretch, scoring just five goals. According to an ESPN report, Islanders general manager Garth Snow offered the 23-year-old forward a seven-year contract at some point last season, but was turned down. On top of that, he scoffed at the Isles’ qualifying offer for quite some time.
“We haven’t heard from them in six weeks,” agent Ron Salcer told Newsday earlier in the week. “Garth and I talked six weeks ago after they made an offer, which was nowhere near commensurate with what players like Brock are making. Garth said he’d get back to me and that was it. No negotiations whatsoever.”
The Islanders signed forward Anders Lee, who finished with 25 goals and 16 assists in 2014-15, to a four-year, $15 million contract back on June 30. They now have a very cap-friendly deal in place with Nelson, paying him $2.5 million per season on average.
The Islanders will have several other decisions to make on the contract front this season, assuming all the key players in the last year of their deals are not re-signed or traded. Forwards Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen and Michael Grabner are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents next summer, while forward Ryan Strome will be a restricted free agent.
And at some point the Islanders are expected to attempt to extend superstar John Tavares’ contract. The Islanders’ captain carries a reasonable $5.5 million salary cap hit over the next three seasons.