When in May 2011 the New York Islanders signed Michael Grabner ($15 million) and then Kyle Okposo ($14 million) to similar five-year contract extensions, you perhaps didn't know which was the better deal.
Grabner was fresh off the 34-goal season, but the waiver wire pickup was twice rejected by teams in that calendar year, right? And he only really took off during the second half as part of a super line with Frans Nielsen and Okposo, yes? Meanwhile, Okposo had the draft pedigree, the episodes of "beast mode" (particularly under Scott Gordon, who gave him gobs of minutes), and was limited only by the shoulder injury that halved that season.
Today, which signing was more prescient is no longer a question, and that's not a knock on Okposo. Grabner, in the simplest terms, is one of the top New York Islanders on the ice night after night.
His speed alone has always been an almost comically dangerous asset, but since joining the Islanders (h/t Dale Tallon) Grabner has really honed how to use it to constantly disrupt and unsettle opponents.
Michael Grabner Has Quietly Become One of the Best Islanders
Lighthouse Hockey | Mar 8