Arthur Staple's Islanders Insider: Extensions coming for Visnovsky, Streit, Nabokov?

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Lubomir Visnovsky of the Islanders celebrates his goal

Lubomir Visnovsky of the Islanders celebrates his goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the second period of the NHL hockey game at Nassau Coliseum. (Feb. 28, 2013) Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

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Arthur Staple Arthur Staple

Staple, with Newsday since 1997, has covered high school sports, hockey and football.

SUNRISE, Fla. - There are nine games and 17 days until the NHL's trade deadline, so plenty can change for the Islanders between now and then.

But it doesn't appear the Islanders' plans for Mark Streit, Lubomir Visnovsky and Evgeni Nabokov, three veterans who are on expiring contracts, will change between now and April 3.

The Islanders and Streit began preliminary extension talks last month. Talks will begin shortly with Visnovsky and Nabokov, according to sources.

Nabokov, who entered Saturday's game having started 23 of the Islanders' first 27 games, said he has no plans to retire after the season and, much like last season when he signed a one-year, $2.75-million contract before the regular season ended, would be open to a return.

"I'm enjoying it, I want to continue to play," the 37-year-old goaltender said. "And I feel the same as last year -- I like the guys here, I like the direction of the team. When the time will come, we will definitely talk [about next season]."

As for Visnovsky, his situation has been much more in flux. He refused to report when the shortened season began, staying behind in Bratislava to be with his son, who needed surgery. Visnovsky also was excused from the Islanders last week to be with a close friend in Slovakia whose son had died.

Visnovsky returned from that trip with his wife and two young children and told Newsday on Friday he and his agent would be willing to listen to a contract offer beyond this season.

"Sure, why not? I'm open for anything," he said. "Next year is far off, and right now I'm thinking about the next game here, this team here. I was never thinking about the [trade] deadline. I'm playing for the Islanders and I'm happy here."

As for Streit, talks are still moving slowly and the Islanders captain understands the rumors will be out there up to the deadline, but his focus hasn't changed.

"I'm the captain of this team and I'm only thinking about this team," he said. "I've been here five years and we've never been closer to the playoffs or a better team than we are now. I want to be here when we make it."

Brad Boyes is a less-mentioned pending UFA who has compiled 23 points in 27 games. Indications are the Isles would like to extend Boyes' deal as well.

Moulson setting up his linemates

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Matt Moulson has been more of a "Cy Young" type scorer his first three Islanders seasons -- hockey slang for more goals than assists, similar to a pitcher's won-lost record. But Moulson entered last night's game with a team-leading 17 assists to 11 goals, a bit of a change.

"Johnny [Tavares] has the hot hand right now, so you just try to get him the puck and let him do his thing," Moulson said. "It's a lot like some of my goals -- I'm not making the perfect play, just being in the right place at the right time to pick up points."

Lee, Mayfield on Isles' radar
The end of the NCAA hockey season is near, with conference tournaments this weekend and the NCAA tournament beginning in two weeks. The Islanders have an eye on the college hockey ranks, waiting for two of their top prospects to finish their seasons and possibly turn pro.

Anders Lee is wrapping his junior year at Notre Dame, and the Islanders are hoping the big forward will turn pro after spurning their offer following the 2011-12 college season. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Lee had 18 goals and 17 assists entering Saturday's action; it's a decent possibility that he would join the Islanders immediately if he signs.

University of Denver defenseman Scott Mayfield, a 6-4, 205-pound sophomore, is also in very much in the Isles' plans. He had 17 points and 110 penalty minutes entering Saturday's games.

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