Star forward Mathew Barzal and the New York Islanders have come to terms on an eight-year contract, the team announced on Tuesday.
The deal is worth a reported AAV of $9.15 million per season.
Barzal was looking for an extension prior to the regular season, and that's just what he got as he’ll now be the centerpiece of the Islanders for the next decade.
“I never had talks with anyone about going anywhere else or playing this out,” Barzal told Newsday’s Andrew Gross after agreeing to the deal Tuesday.
The 25-year-old was slated to become a restricted free agent at the end of the upcoming season, and will now stabilize the Islanders’ long-term outlook. Barzal, one of the NHL’s fastest skaters and a high-end playmaker entering his prime, would’ve likely been one of the most sought-after targets next summer. Securing an extension was always going to be a top priority for the Islanders.
After signing the deal, Barzal revealed that his camp and the Islanders had been in negotiations for two months.
Barzal told reporters he’d "obviously really like to have a deal" prior to the start of training camp.
“Hopefully, there’s still (three) weeks before the season and we can hammer something out. If not, I’m not really worried about it just because my heart’s here and I know that we’ll get something fair and something both sides will be happy about,” Barzal said via The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz on September 22.
This is a deal that should project well for the Islanders, at least through the first half of the extension. Barzal is an electrifying skater who excels in transition with an innate ability to find open shooters, even if this quality doesn’t always translate to the scoresheet.
There have been frustrations at times that Barzal has never reached the heights of his rookie year, where he posted a career-best 85 points in 2017-18 while winning the Calder Trophy, but we’re nitpicking about a dynamic scorer who tied for the team lead alongside Anders Lee last year with 59 points.
New York is coming off an objectively disappointing season, too, where it missed the playoffs for the first time since Barzal’s rookie campaign. With a new contract in place that ensures he’ll remain with the team until he’s 34, it’s full speed ahead for Barzal, who is surely hoping to lead New York back to a prolonged playoff run and write last year off as an anomaly.
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