PHILADELPHIA -- Frans Nielsen could have been an attractive chip with the Feb. 27 trade deadline approaching and Nielsen facing unrestricted free agency this summer. But the Islanders valued him more for the long term, and general manager Garth Snow worked to ensure that the 27-year-old center remained an Islander.
The team and Nielsen agreed to a four-year, $11-million contract Tuesday, a huge raise for Nielsen, who is making $550,000 this season, the last of a four-year deal. When he signed that contract before the 2008-09 season, Nielsen was an untested player who had split time between the Islanders and Bridgeport. Now he's one of the very few Islanders who plays in all situations and works against the top line.
"Frans is a perfect example of what we're building on Long Island," Snow said. "Our organization has set the goal to build through the draft, develop our prospects and have them become a part of the young core of talented players we have. He is one of those core players that has become one of the best two-way forwards in the NHL."
Nielsen went first in Tuesday night's's shootout and scored in a 1-0 win over the Flyers.
With the trade deadline 19 days away, the Isles' pool of attractive players has shrunk. Teams will be asking about Evgeni Nabokov and P.A. Parenteau, who are having solid seasons and will be unrestricted free agents this summer. With the injuries on defense, it seems unlikely Snow will make a major move there.
Rolston scratched again
Brian Rolston was a healthy scratch for the fourth straight game, with Rhett Rakhshani keeping his lineup spot . . . Marty Reasoner (broken thumb) is practicing with the team in anticipation of coming off injured reserve.