Asham signs 1-year deal; avoids arbitration with Isles

Updated: July 24, 2006, 8:06 PM ET
Associated Press

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Islanders forward Arron Asham avoided salary arbitration on Monday and agreed to a one-year deal with New York.

Asham, scheduled for a salary arbitration hearing this week, will earn $950,000 next season -- a $323,000 raise over last season.

The contract was worked out by new Islanders general manager Garth Snow, the former backup goalie who went from the locker room to the front office last week. He retired as a player to replace Neil Smith, fired just over a month after taking the job.

New York was looking to avoid arbitration with Asham after losing a case to forward Mike York, whose salary rose $800,000 to $2.85 million. York and Asham were the only Islanders to file for arbitration.

Asham elected to go that route after turning down the Islanders' qualifying offer of $689,700.

"Being an Islander means a lot to me and I did not want to be anywhere else but Long Island," he said in a statement. "I love the additions we made to the lineup, and I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to play for (coach) Ted Nolan."

Asham, 28, had nine goals and 15 assists in 63 games last season, his third with the Islanders and seventh in the NHL. The rugged forward, who began his career with the Montreal Canadiens, missed the final 18 games of the season due to a sprained ankle.

In 341 NHL games, Asham has 47 goals with 55 assists and 390 penalty minutes.

"With Arron back and the signing of Brendan Witt and Chris Simon, we have added a lot of grit, tenacity and character to our lineup," said Snow, Asham's teammate for three seasons. "Like Witt and Simon, Arron brings a lot to the table. He is a talented player that can contribute in many ways."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press