News emerged today that the Islanders traded Trent Hunter to area rivals New Jersey in exchange for 37 year-old left wing Brian Rolston.
I like the deal for several reasons.
First off, one of (Islanders General Manager) Garth Snow's core philosophies is having veteran leadership in place. Rolston, the 16-year NHL veteran and former Stanley Cup Champion, certainly qualifies. He'll be brought in to help mentor a still-young team of which expectations are steadily growing. After four barren seasons, a postseason berth is expected of the squad that Snow has meticulously crafted, mostly through the draft.
In my mind at least, despite his age, Rolston is still an effective point producer. If I had to guess, I would say that 20 goals are not out of reach for Rolston, barring injury. Of course, that's the biggest risk at his age.
As an aside, you'll remember that the last man brought in for leadership, Doug Weight, didn't spend a lot of time on the active roster. But I digress.
Additionally, this move also adds by a bit of subtraction, though that seems a bit harsh.
After a stellar 51 point rookie season back in 2003-2004, I became a Trent Hunter fan. He was a big right wing who had been productive at Bridgeport, and had seemingly made a smooth transition to the Island. Not one to lavish quotes on the press, he did his talking with his hockey stick.
Unfortunately, it was shortly after that when Hunter went into the Witness Protection Program, so to speak. He was invisible on a lot of nights, and in more recent times, injured. Over his next three seasons he averaged only 16 goals, down from '03-'04's 25. His production slipped even further as the injuries claimed a lot of his playing time.
Lastly, the move eases fears that the Islanders would have trouble reaching the salary cap floor. Rolston's salary cap is over $5 million for the upcoming season, while Hunter would have been on the books for the next two years at $2 million apiece.
The Islanders will gladly take on the money after the aborted Ehrhoff deal, and will be glad to get out from an extra year of a non-productive salary cap in the following season, especially with John Tavares set to get a big pay raise at this time next year.
As long as Rolston stays healthy, it's a good move for all parties involved.
As you surely know, Monday (8/1/11) is D-Day on Long Island. If you are a citizen of Nassau County, I urge you to get out and vote for the new arena plan, and vote 'yes.'
The plan has broad support from unions, fans, and many citizens, and will provide jobs for our suffering construction sector.
In talking with a Rangers fan, of all people, he recently told me has was voting 'yes' because, simply put, he was afraid of a scenario for Nassau County where nothing was built on the site.
There are many reasons to vote yes, whether your primary concern is the local economy, ice hockey, having a top-notch venue for your kids to see the newest acts, or just the civic pride that comes with having a new landmark.
So please take 5 minutes out of your day on Monday to find your polling place and vote yes. Like today's trade, it seems like a good move for all involved.