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Isles trade Hunter to Devils for Rolston

New Jersey Devils' Brian Rolston (12) is congratulated

New Jersey Devils' Brian Rolston (12) is congratulated by teammates after scoring against the New York Islanders during the second period. (March 6, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

In a favorable salary swap for both clubs, the Islanders acquired 38-year-old forward Brian Rolston from the Devils for Trent Hunter Thursday.

Rolston, whose contract will count for $5.062 million against the salary cap, gets the Islanders closer to the $48.3-million cap minimum. The Devils clear cap space by assuming Hunter's $2-million cap hit over the next two years, providing them more flexibility in re-signing cornerstone winger Zach Parise, who is scheduled for an arbitration hearing next week.

"That's secondary and it didn't even come in my thought process," Islanders general manager Garth Snow said when asked about the salary-cap implications.

Rolston finished with 14 goals and 20 assists in 65 games for the Devils last season. Hunter, 31, was limited to 17 games last season and underwent 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 the Islanders. He believes he'll receive a better opportunity on Long Island than he would 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."

Snow said Rolston's strong performance in the second half of last season -- all but five of Rolston's 34 points came after Dec. 31 -- convinced him that he has plenty of good hockey left in the tank.

"I proved I can produce, and that was vindicating for me," said Rolston, who was waived by the Devils last December in hopes another team would claim him and provide cap relief. "Talk is talk, but if I get the opportunity, I'll produce."

Rolston, who has scored at least 30 goals four times, won a Stanley Cup with the Devils during his rookie season in 1994-95. He has 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."

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