Nichols on Fantasy NHL: Hockey Hearsay

May 26, 2011, 4:45 PM

The New York Post reports that the Islanders continued backing up their plan of building around their young core yesterday, locking up forward Kyle Okposo with a five-year contract worth $14 million.

Less than two weeks ago, Isles general manager Garth Snow gave a five-year, $15 million contract to Michael Grabner, and in mid-season he signed Matt Moulson to a three-year deal worth $9.4 million.

Grabner and Okposo, both 23 years old, were set to be restricted free agents this off-season, and instead of extending qualifying offers to keep them, Snow made long-term financial commitments. This from a team whose future on Long Island is still in flux, as a plan for a new arena is being readied for a vote by Nassau County residents on the tentative date of Aug. 1.

“Kyle has been a critical part of our young core over the past few seasons,” Snow said in a statement. “He is a high character guy that brings size and a scoring touch to our lineup.”

Okposo missed the first half of last season with a shoulder injury he sustained in training camp, and the 2006 first-round pick (seventh overall) scored five goals and had 15 assists in 38 games last season.

“This team really showed its potential in the second half of the season last year,” Okposo said, “and I’m excited to be a part of getting the franchise back to the playoffs.”

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