In a favorable salary swap for both clubs, the Islanders acquired 38-year-old Devils forward Brian Rolston in exchange for Trent Hunter.
Rolston, whose $5.062 cap hit will give the Islanders a big boost toward the cap floor, finished with 14 goals and 20 assists in 65 games for the Devils last season. Hunter , 31, was limited to 17 games last year and had to undergo season-ending knee surgery in February.
“Super happy to get traded to the Islanders,” Rolston said when reached by phone. “It’s a team that’s got a bright future and is ready to make the next step. I’m excited to join the group.”
Rolston said he had no problem waiving his no-trade clause to come to join the Islanders. He said he feels he’ll receive a better opportunity on Long Island than with the Devils and hopes he can play in a top-two line capacity.
“To be honest, I was ready to be moved for a while and it was a mutual decision,” Rolston said. “When it came around to something being on the table, I said I’d be happy to be utilized better on a new team. I couldn’t have picked a better organization.”
The move allows both the Islanders to get closer to the $48.3 cap floor and the Devils to clear cap space by swapping Rolston's contract with Hunter's more-modest hit of $2 million over the next two years. Devils cornerstone winger Zach Parise is scheduled for an arbitration hearing next week.
"That's secondary and it didn't even come in my thought process," Snow said when asked about the mutually beneficial salary cap implications.
Snow said Rolston’s strong performance in the second half of last season--all but five of his 34 total points were registered after December 31-- convinced him that he had plenty of good hockey left in the tank.
“I proved I can produce and that was vindicating for me,” said Rolston, who was wiaved by the Devils last December in hopes another team would claim him and provide them cap relief. “Talk is talk but if I get the opportunity, I’ll produce.”
Rolston, a four-time 30-goal scorer, won a Stanley Cup with the Devils during his rookie season in 1994-95. He has amassed 335 goals and 402 assists in 16 seasons in the NHL.
"He's a winner that leads by example," Snow said. "He's a great addition to our locker room."