Lubomir Visnovsky will remain a New York Islander after signing a two-year extension, the team announced Friday. The deal is worth $9.5 million for an annual cap hit of $4.75 million as reported by Arthur Staple of Newsday.
Considering the tumultuous offseason after Visnovsky was traded from the Anaheim Ducks to the Islanders, this extension may come as a bit of a surprise.
After the Ducks made the trade, Visnovsky filed a grievance to try to void the deal. He was denied by an arbitrator and once the lockout ended, Visnovsky refused to report to the Islanders. Citing family health problems, Visnovsky remained in his native Slovakia until the KHL refused to allow him to keep playing.
He joined the Islanders on Feb. 6 and made his debut three days later. Since, he has averaged 22 minutes a night for New York.
Scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, the 36-year-old Visnovsky was thought to be a potential trade chip, but he won't be anymore. Instead, the Islanders have locked up a veteran defenseman who has been mostly a bright spot in his brief time with the club.
This is a solid deal for GM Garth Snow to retain one of his better defensemen. Visnovsky is a proven veteran who can help the team, which is likely to get even younger next season. With a $4.75 million cap hit, he's also fairly affordable and allows Snow the latitude to re-sign goalie Evgeni Nabokov and Mark Streit as he reportedly hopes to do. Visnovsky will also be part of the club as it transitions from Long Island to Brooklyn in 2014.
Visnovsky has nine points and a plus-2 rating this season. Over his career, Visnovsky has 459 points in 793 NHL games.
Considering how their relationship began, it's clear there are happier days ahead for Visnovsky and the Islanders.