Summerside native signs one-year, two-way deal with NHL's Islanders
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The Islander, perhaps fittingly, signed a one-year, two way contract Wednesday with the New York Islanders. The 27-year-old defenseman played 41 games last season with the Boston Bruins' American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate in Providence.
The deal took shape when an opposing AHL coach decided he'd rather have McIver playing for, rather than against him.
Brent Thompson, head coach of the Islanders' AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, was recently promoted to the position of assistant coach of the NHL squad.
"We played against (Bridgeport) quite a few times last season, so (Thompson) called me last week to talk to me about trying to sign with the Islanders," McIver explained Wednesday.
"I was pretty excited. I've been talking to them in the last week or so here, so I'm happy that we finally got it done."
The six-foot-two, 195-pound former Summerside Western Capital posted one goal and tallied 68 penalty minutes last season with Providence.
Now heading into his eighth professional season, McIver has already had NHL experience with the Vancouver Canucks and the Anaheim Ducks. The Canucks selected McIver in the eighth round of the 2003 draft.
While he has earned a reputation as a physical player, McIver said that's exactly why the Islanders' staff would like to see him on the team.
New York finished second-last in the Eastern Conference last season with a 34-37-11 (won-lost-overtime loss) record, and may be looking for tough defensemen who can throw their weight around.
"I talked to the (Islanders') assistant GM, and he just wants me to bring my game that I had the last few years," said McIver. "He thinks they need some toughness in the organization and some defensive defensemen, and he thinks I can bring that to the organization, whether it's in New York or Bridgeport."
McIver said he'll focus on training over the next several weeks in preparation for the Islanders' training camp, which begins Sept. 21.
Whether it's in New York or in Bridgeport, McIver said he's bound to see some familiar faces during this new stage of his career.
His cousin, Brett Gallant, was recently signed to the Sound Tigers, so the two former Caps players spent some time discussing the organization.
McIver also played with the Islanders' forward Michael Grabner during a stint in Manitoba.
The defenseman said he received plenty of phone calls and text messages from friends and family on P.E.I. on Wednesday, support that he'll use as motivation to make the Islanders squad.
"Obviously, going in, I have the mindset of... wanting to make the Islanders. Every year, every player has that goal, to play in the NHL," he said. "I'll work hard over the next six or seven weeks and give myself the best opportunity to make the Islanders."