Lubomir Visnovsky agrees to deal with Islanders
PITTSBURGH -- Lubomir Visnovsky wasn't exactly eager to join the Islanders this season. But late Friday night he agreed to be an Islander for the next two seasons.
Visnovsky and the Islanders agreed to a two-year, $9.5-million contract extension, ending a very short and productive negotiation between general manager Garth Snow and the veteran defenseman.
The trade deadline is Wednesday, and Visnovsky was thought to be an attractive option for any number of playoff-bound teams looking to upgrade their defense. But Snow thinks the 36-year-old defenseman he acquired for a second-round pick on draft day last June is a better fit beyond this season with a defense corps that was not very deep before this season began.
Two sources told Newsday that contract extension talks between Snow and the agent for captain Mark Streit have been progressing. Streit is believed to be seeking a three-year contract and has expressed a desire to stay with the Islanders rather than be moved as a deadline rental.
Snow is interested in bringing back two other pending free agents next season -- goaltender Evgeni Nabokov and wing Brad Boyes. Sources indicated that the team and agents for both have had preliminary talks on extensions.
Visnovsky's odyssey since Snow acquired him from the Ducks has been a strange one. He filed a grievance to void the deal, citing a previously-agreed-upon no-trade clause, but an arbitrator ruled against him.
Then, after the four-month lockout, Visnovsky refused to report, hoping to stay with the KHL team he played for in his Bratislava hometown. His young son was having health problems at the time. The KHL would not allow him to stay and he flew to Long Island on Feb. 6 to join the team.
His wife and children have since joined him, and Visnovsky told Newsday this week that his family likes the Island quite a bit. That might have factored into his decision to seek an extension.
Notes & quotes: The Islanders will carry a three-game winning streak into Saturday's game against the Penguins, who have a 14-game winning streak but might not have Jarome Iginla, their latest deadline acquisition, in the lineup because of visa issues.