Lubomir Visnovsky, Islanders agree to two-year, $9.5-million contract extension
PITTSBURGH -- Lubomir Visnovsky wasn't exactly eager to join the Islanders at the start of this season. But late Friday night, he agreed to be an Islander for the next two seasons.
Visnovsky and the Islanders agreed on a two-year, $9.5-million contract extension, ending a very short and productive negotiation between general manager Garth Snow and the defenseman. In Pittsburgh last June, Snow acquired him on draft day from Anaheim for a second-round draft pick.
Neil Sheehy, Visnovsky's agent, termed the conversations between himself and Snow "very positive" earlier Friday, barely a week after the 36-year-old gave his agent the go-ahead to start talks.
Visnovsky has three goals and nine points in 22 games during this debut season for the Islanders, one that almost didn't happen.
Visnovsky and Sheehy filed a grievance to void the draft-day trade, citing a no-trade clause, but an arbitrator ruled against Visnovsky and he became an Islander.
But then came the four-month lockout, and Visnovsky -- living and playing in his Bratislava hometown and with a 4-year-old son who was having health issues -- declared his intention to stay in Slovakia rather than report to the Isles.
The KHL ruled Visnovsky could not stay, and he arrived on Long Island on Feb. 6. He returned home March 4 to comfort a friend whose son had been killed, then returned after three days with his wife and children to settle on Long Island.
Visnovsky told Newsday last week that his family likes their new home, which might have been a factor in his decision to seek an extension.
With Visnovsky taken care of, Snow can turn his attention to his other pending free agents who otherwise might have been trade targets with the April 3 deadline approaching but now will be extension targets.
Two sources told Newsday that contract extension talks between Snow and the agent for captain Mark Streit have been progressing well. Streit is believed to be seeking a three-year contract.
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.
Notes & quotes: The Isles carry a three-game winning streak into Saturday's meeting with 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. He will arrive in Pittsburgh Saturday, but likely not in time for the 1 p.m. game.