The two-way centre, who won a Stanley Cup title with Carolina in 2006, had his best NHL season in 2003-04 when he had 19 goals and 45 points in 82 games for the Hurricanes. Last season, the versatile forward had six goals and 22 assists with a minus-5 rating in 63 games while splitting time between Nashville and Carolina.
“Josef is an extremely talented centre who’s 6-4, strong in his own zone, been in winning situations and, at age 26, is just entering his prime,” said Islanders general manager Garth Snow, a former goalie. “What makes this an important signing for us is that no one questions his work ethic and determination. … We’re really looking forward to giving him an opportunity to take his game to the next level.”
Vasicek, who will turn 27 when training camp opens next month, was with the Hurricanes when they reached the Stanley Cup finals in 2002.
“He has seen what it takes to win,” Islanders coach Ted Nolan said. “That’s invaluable experience for a player this talented and who is still so young. As a staff we like his character, so we know he’s a player we can work with to maximize his potential.”
In 379 NHL games with Carolina and Nashville, the native of the Czech Republic has 61 goals and 87 assists. He was selected by the Hurricanes in the fourth round of the 1998 draft.
“From the beginning, I thought the Islanders were the right team for me and I really wanted to come to Long Island,” Vasicek said from his Czech hometown. “Ted Nolan is known for being a great players’ coach and I feel I can learn a lot from him.
“I’m also really happy to be on the same team as my buddy (defenceman) Radek Martinek. There are only about 25,000 people in the town of Havlickuv Brod, and now we are going to have two players from here on the Islanders. Radek and I have been working out together in the summer for the last seven years and it’s going to be so great to be his teammate.”