This was not a day when the Islanders were going to sit on their hands and watch. Instead, as NHL free agency opened yesterday at noon, the team that qualified for the playoffs last season for the first time since 2007 made a handful of calculated moves, the most impactful being the signing of restricted free-agent defenseman Travis Hamonic and the re-signing of veteran goalie Evgeni Nabokov. Hamonic, who will be 23 when the season starts, signed a seven-year, $27 million contract, the length and value of which shocked some corners of the hockey landscape. But for Hamonic, general manager Garth Snow and owner Charles Wang, it was a showing of collective trust. “Garth and Charles and the organization were first class in their trust in me, and it was a no-brainer to show that trust back,” Hamonic told The Post from a Minnesota golf course. “I wanted something to be longer-term to see this thing through. I feel really confident in the group we have going forward.” Hamonic was a second-round pick of the Islanders in 2008 and was bolstered by the team’s postseason appearance, when they lost a first-round series to the Penguins in six games. In those games, Hamonic was a bother to star Evgeni Malkin, and the young Islanders proved to be more than a pushover. “That’s a big part of why I signed on as long as I did,” Hamonic said. “It wasn’t about the money for me, it really wasn’t. It’s a good group where I feel we have a chance to win. We saw what we can do, and to be a piece of that puzzle, with the young foundation we have, you couldn’t ask for a better situation.” Another point of focus for Snow going into this offseason was trying to upgrade in goal. Although the soon-to-be 38-year-old Nabokov was ready to test the free-agent market, he eventually came back to the Isles on a one-year, $3.25 million deal.
Islanders re-sign Nabokov, Hamonic
New York Post | Jul 6