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Islanders Sign Defenseman Johnny Boychuk To 7-Year Contract Extension

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- He's heading to Brooklyn with the rest of the gang.

The Islanders signed veteran Johnny Boychuk to a seven-year contract extension on Thursday, the team announced. With the move, they now have their top defense pairing locked up into the next decade.

Boychuk, 31, will receive $42 million over the lifetime of the deal, Newsday reported.

"Ever since I came to the Islanders, the organization has been incredible to both myself and my family," Boychuk said. "I am proud to be an Islander and look forward to competing every night in front of such a passionate fan base for many years to come."

The signing came a little more than two weeks after general manager Garth Snow gave blueliner Nick Leddy a seven-year extension for a reported $38.5 million.

Boychuk has been everything the Islanders envisioned and then some since coming over in a trade from the Boston Bruins a week before the regular season started. He's put up a career-high seven goals, 25 assists and 32 points while playing to a plus-17 rating, the same as his playing partner, Leddy.

"Johnny's influence in our dressing room, both on and off the ice, has been immeasurable," Snow said. "His veteran presence is an asset that we are thrilled to help lead our club."

The trade for Boychuk, which came on the same day Snow acquired Leddy from the Chicago Blackhawks, has helped turn the 2014-15 season -- the team's last at Nassau Coliseum before moving to Barclays Center in Brooklyn next season -- into one of the Islanders' best in recent memory.

Heading into play on Thursday, the Islanders (43-22-4) were one point out of first place in the Metropolitan Division, Eastern Conference and the NHL, with 13 games remaining.

Boychuk, who won the Stanley Cup with Boston in 2011 and has a wealth of playoff experience, figured to be one of the top unrestricted free agents on the open market this summer, and that might have played a role in why he didn't agree to an extension earlier. However, the signing is without question a home run by Snow, who now has his four best defensemen, including Travis Hamonic and Calvin de Haan, signed long-term.

Often asked about the contract negotiations, Boychuk was a cool customer with the media, repeatedly smiling and saying he very much hoped to continue his career with the Islanders.

And now he'll get to do just that.

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