Ryan Strome agrees to 3-year deal

The New York Islanders have agreed to terms on a three-year, entry-level contract with rookie center Ryan Strome, the team announced Tuesday.

Strome was selected fifth overall by the Islanders in the first round of the 2011 draft.

"We're excited that he signed his entry-level contract," general manager Garth Snow told ESPNNewYork.com Wednesday. "We feel he's gonna be a big part of what we're building here for the future."

The 18-year-old is coming off a tremendous season for the Niagara Ice Dogs of the OHL, where he recorded 33 goals and 73 assists in 65 games.

"After signing my contract, I had a few minutes when I was walking back to the hotel from the Coliseum to go over what's happened over the last few months and the last year," Strome said Tuesday. "It's been unbelievable. Things have happened so fast. To see where I am now, I'm pretty thankful. I have a lot of people to thank. I have a lot to be happy for."

Because Strome is a juniors-aged (18 and 19 years old) player, the Islanders can play him for nine games before returning him to Niagara. If that happens, his contract effectively would be put on hold, and he would go into the 2012-13 training camp in the first year of his deal again.

"Right now, we haven't made plans regarding the nine games, or how long he'll be part of this team," Snow said. "I think the silver lining in keeping him around will be the experience he gets. He'll live day by day in the locker room, and see what it's like to be a pro. This will be a good experience.

"I see nothing but positives. We're going to take it day by day and allow him to soak in this environment."

Snow has been impressed with what he's seen from Strome during training camp and the preseason.

"We knew he was highly skilled and had great vision on the ice," Snow said. "He has the ability to make his linemates better and he's a high-character kid, so there's no surprise in that area. But he's 18, and he's still just getting his feet wet at the NHL level."

The Islanders also announced Tuesday that they signed veteran left winger Jay Pandolfo to a one-year, one-way deal.

Pandolfo, 36, had been in camp on a tryout basis, and had one assist with a plus-1 in five preseason games.

"I visited with him in August. He was skating in Boston and just wanted an opportunity to play at the NHL level," Snow said. "And since he's come in here he's done everything we've asked of him. We envision him as a leader in the locker room and a key part of our penalty kill."

Last season, Pandolfo played 12 games with AHL Springfield, recording two goals and four assists.

Pandolfo played the first 14 years of his career with the New Jersey Devils, winning Stanley Cups in 2000 and 2003.

In 819 career NHL games, Pandolfo has 99 goals and 124 assists.

Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.