The New York Islanders brought in Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolay Kulemin to help sure up their forward situation in 2014. We take a look at who was the better signing.
The New York Islanders thought they were getting productive offensive players when they signed Nikolay Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski to 4 year deals back in 2014. Unfortunately for the Islanders both have been underwhelming.
The heyday for Grabo and Kulemin was during the 2010-2011 season when they both put 50+ point seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs. They have been no where near that production with the New York Islanders.
Part of the reason Grabo hasn’t lived up to his $5 million aav contract is injuries. He’s played 58 and 51 games the last two years. Concussions is part of the reason for Grabovski missing time. Here’s the one that caused him to miss time in 2015
I was actually at this game, it was a scary moment at the old barn because it looked as if Grabovski was completely unconscious down on the ice for a few moments. That wasn’t the only big hit he took that year.
This one was from earlier in the year. The guy must be a walking headache at this point in his career. He’s taken a ton of big hits and he just seems to be unable to stay healthy.
Even though he’s shown flashes of scoring potential his health risk is too much to rely on him as an every day player. Although we did look at Grabovski’s positives as a possession player, is it worth his $5 million cap hit?
Kulemin’s Special Teams
As for Grabo’s old buddy Kulemin, at least he is valuable in other aspects of the game. Kulemin has not been nearly the same player since his 30 goal year with Toronto. Last year he had just 9 goals with the Islanders.
Although his special teams his where his value is seen. Kulemin was a part of the Islanders very successful penalty kill unit last year. The question for him is: is Kulemin’s penalty killing abilities worth the $4 million cap hit?
Neither of these contracts are particularly great but with each of them showing to have some value we look at which is the better contract.
Due to the fact that Kulemin makes less money I think that makes his contract the better of the two (he’s still over paid). The thing is IF Grabovski stays healthy he has the more potent scoring threat of the two. The problem is that is too big of an if.
Kulemin is the more valuable of the two, especially with the loss of productive penalty killer Frans Nielsen. If either of the two are moved I would expect it to be Grabo but with that contract and injury history the Islanders may have to bite the bullet on that one.