Andy Greene and his wife, Rachel, are raising two young sons in New Jersey, where he played 13-plus seasons for the Devils. At age 37, he’s an impending unrestricted free agent with the salary cap remaining flat at $81.5 million next season.
But Greene said Sunday he never considered opting out of returning this season as the Islanders prepare for a best-of-five qualifying series against the Panthers on Aug. 1 in Toronto.
“It was tough to leave, a little bit tougher than I anticipated,” said Greene, acquired on Feb. 16. “But I didn’t really consider opting out at all. I knew this was going to be a good opportunity with our team here to make a run. You try to weigh the pros and cons of everything. Free agency never played into it.”
Greene returned to Long Island to resume skating with his teammates about three weeks ago. He said frequent Zoom calls and group texts with his new teammates after the season was paused on March 12 because of the COVID-19 pandemic made him feel like a longtime Islander even though he’s only played 10 games with the team.
“It’s good to have that competition back,” Greene said. “It’s what we’re wired for. It’s what we thrive on.”
Notes & quotes: Captain Anders Lee scored a hat trick to pace Blue, with Semyon Varlamov in net, to a 4-3 win over White in Sunday’s scrimmage. Linemate Mathew Barzal, on the power play, had the other goal. “I liked the finish of Leesy today,” coach Barry Trotz said. “Ebs [Jordan Eberle] was creating and Barzy’s flying in terms of his edge work.” Anthony Beauvillier scored twice for White, including a power-play goal, with Matt Martin scoring the other goal and Thomas Greiss in net . . . Leo Komarov and defenseman Sebastian Aho still have yet to skate in training camp.