The Ducks' Ross Johnston skates during an NHL game against...

The Ducks' Ross Johnston skates during an NHL game against the Coyotes on Oct. 21 in Tempe, Ariz. Credit: AP

Two months later, former Islander Ross Johnston will finally get a chance to say goodbye. President/general manager Lou Lamoriello gave him the private courtesy of a few days warning that he was not likely to be with the team to start the season in October. But Johnston couldn’t say anything to anybody until a move was finalized.

“Lou was unbelievable and he gave me a little head’s up,” Johnston told Newsday on Tuesday after his new team, the Anaheim Ducks, practiced at UBS Arena prior to Wednesday night’s game against the Islanders.

The Ducks claimed Johnston – a frequent healthy scratch during his six seasons with the Islanders – off waivers on Oct. 10. The 6-5, 234-pound protector, who has played in 19 of the Ducks' 27 games, has two assists and 29 penalty minutes.

“I’m not naïve,” Johnston said of trying to earn a spot with the Islanders this season. “Each and every year you’re here to prove a spot and this year it got tighter and tighter and they went in a different direction.”

Julien Gauthier, Hudson Fasching, Matt Martin and Simon Holmstrom were kept ahead of Johnston.

“It happens quick when you’re put on waivers,” Johnston said. “You’re unsure if somebody is going to claim you. Then, all of sudden, you’re claimed and you’re going all the way across the country. So, a lot of goodbyes that weren’t said.”

“Ross is a great guy,” Islanders center Brock Nelson told Newsday. “He plays a tough game and stands up for everybody. Everyone was happy for him to go and get an opportunity and a change of scenery.”

Johnston, 29, in the second season of a four-year, $4.4 million deal, played 134 games for the Islanders with nine goals, 15 assists and 283 penalty minutes.

Johnston circled Wednesday’s date as soon as the Ducks claimed him but it’s unclear whether he’ll be in the lineup. He skated on a line with Trevor Zegras, who is on injured reserve, and Mason McTavish, who’s also been sidelined by an injury, at Tuesday’s practice.

If he does play, Johnston said he’ll have no issue being physical against his former teammates.

“It’s still sinking in,” Johnston said. “You go out there and it’s a hockey game. At one point or another, I’ve wrestled every one of those guys. So it’ll be no different trying to hit them tomorrow night. There will be no hard feelings both ways. I’ll go out there, hit whoever I can and laugh about it after.”

Martin back on IR

Matt Martin was placed back on injured reserve with an upper-body issue, his second stint on IR this season presumably for the same reason. Martin is on IR retroactive to Dec. 2 but the fourth liner has not played since Nov. 15. He initially missed five games during his first stint on IR before being activated. However, he stayed out of the lineup the past seven games with coach Lane Lambert reporting Martin was not 100% healthy even as he participated in practices and morning skates.

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