Isles Sign Prospect Matt Donovan
A few weeks ago, Islanders GM Garth Snow signed Aaron Ness to an entry-level deal that would start next season, finishing the current year with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on an Amateur Tryout Contract. He continued his penmanship by inking goaltender Al Montoya to a one-year contract extension yesterday that will see him play through next season.
Today Garth Snow's hands were busy again as he signed Isles prospect Matt Donovan to an entry-level deal. The contract is similar to Ness' as it will have him play out the remainder of the year with the Sound Tigers without the new contract kicking in until next season.
Donovan, who turns 21 on May 9th, was drafted by the Islanders in the 4th round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft at 96th overall. The 6'0, 190 pound defenseman was playing for the University of Denver and led his team in scoring by a dman with 9 goals, 23 assists and 32 points (a career best) as a sophomore. Like Ness, Donovan will be leaving his NCAA team before graduating to start his professional career in the Islanders farm system. Both seasons combined for a total of 53 points in 78 games.
The rebuild process is slowly but surely starting to show that the future is now as prospects are leaving their original teams to climb the ranks through the Islanders system. As mentioned in the past, Calvin de Haan will likely be joining the Sound Tigers next year as well and top prospect Nino Niederreiter will likely get another close look. He currently has 70 points (41 goals and 29 assists) in 55 games for the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL and helped his team finish first in their conference. Speaking of El Nino, I should be scheduling a phone interview with him through the Winterhawks next week. They currently are starting their playoff battle with the Everett Silvertips that begins tonight.
Although Snow has managed to get three contracts completed over the past few weeks, he still has plenty of work cut out for him. Kyle Okposo, Michael Grabner, Josh Bailey, Blake Comeau, Micheal Haley, Jesse Joensuu, Bruno Gervais, Jack Hillen and Ty Wishart will all be impending restricted free agents by the end of the season. I recently contacted the Isles and so far there has been no word on any contract negotiations with Okposo, Grabner and Bailey. Rest assured, Snow will do his best to lock up these three, and Comeau as well, since they are part of the main core of the team and probably will be for a good amount of time.
Be sure to stop by for our live blog tomorrow of the Islanders/Rangers match-up LIVE from the press-box at Nassau Coliseum at 7 PM!
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