COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) – Rick DiPietro, the first goaltender chosen with the top pick in the NHL draft, signed a $2.5 million, one-year contract with the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

He was 23-18-5 with five shutouts and a 2.36 goals-against average with the Islanders during the 2003-04 season, his third in the NHL.

DiPietro, taking part in this week’s U.S. Olympic orientation camp, was chosen by the Islanders with the No. 1 pick in the 2000 draft after one year at Boston University.

DiPietro and the Islanders discussed a 15-year deal that fell through last week.

“I’ve made my feelings known that Long Island is where I want to spend my career and hopefully we can work something out,” he said.

With the Islanders facing salary cap issues and needing to sign free-agent forward Mark Parrish, DiPietro said it was important to get a deal done before training camp begins next week. The Islanders might have trouble fitting Parrish under the $39 million cap. He spoke to general manager Mike Milbury last week but was given no indication if he would be returning.

The 2003-04 season began with DiPietro and Garth Snow vying to be the Islanders’ No. 1 goalie. DiPietro got off to a quick start, posting a shutout in Steve Stirling’s first NHL coaching victory. He was 2-0-1 with a 0.83 GAA and a shutout streak of 115 minutes, 59 seconds.

“It’s great news that Ricky’s in the fold,” Stirling said. “He is a very important player for our franchise’s present and future.”

DiPietro played for the United States on two under-18 teams and appeared twice in the world junior championships. He played in three games during the 2001 world championship and went 2-2 with a 1.68 GAA during this year’s tournament in which the U.S. lost in the quarterfinals.


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