Report: Isles, Yashin near $90-million deal

The New York Islanders are close to signing newly acquired restricted free agent Alexei Yashin to the richest contract in NHL history.According to New York Newsday, Islanders owner Charles Wang has given his blessing to a 10 year, $90-million contract for Yashin.

The newspaper quotes Islanders GM Mike Milbury as saying he is “optimistic” that talks with Yashin’s agent Mark Gandler can be finalized by the time training camp rolls around.

The Islanders are also reportedly close to signing their other restricted free agent, Mike Peca, to a long-term deal. Peca told the newspaper last week that he expects to sign “sooner rather than later”.

The Yashin deal would mark a financial turnaround for the Islanders, who have been known more for dumping salaries the past few seasons. The year prior to Wang purchasing the team along with Sanjay Kumar, the Islanders boasted a payroll of $15-million. Last year, the team’s payroll ballooned to $25-million and its expected to increase to $30-million this season.

The Islanders acquired Yashin from the Ottawa Senators in June in exchange for defenseman Zdeno Chara, forward Bill Muckalt and the second overall pick in the 2001 draft.

While Yashin’s deal may be the biggest in NHL history, he will not be the highest paid player in the NHL. That honour belongs to Jaromir Jagr, who will make more than $10-million with the Washington Capitals this coming season.