Thomas Vanek talked about his immediate future Thursday, telling Newsday he would understand being dealt by the Islanders before the March 5 trade deadline if he chooses to keep his options open on a contract -- but also that he would have the Islanders on his list if he becomes a free agent on July 1.
General manager Garth Snow told Newsday on Wednesday that he will need an answer from Vanek's camp in the next seven to 10 days on whether Vanek -- acquired Oct. 27 from the Sabres -- would be willing to sign a long-term deal before the July 1 start of free agency.
"I know Garth gave up a lot to get me here, so if they feel they need to get something back [by the deadline], I understand," Vanek said. "He's been great, the team has been great. No one has put any pressure on me.
"I know that we're getting close [to the deadline] and that they want to know what I'm going to do. It's a big decision that obviously isn't just about me, it's a big decision for my family, where we're going to be."
But even if the Islanders deal Vanek, the 30-year-old wing says he would listen to Snow's pitch on July 1.
"I like it here," Vanek said. "It's a good group of guys. This would be a place I'd consider if it gets to July 1."
Visnovsky a week away?
Lubomir Visnovsky (concussion) skated without a specially colored no-contact jersey Thursday, clearing another hurdle toward his return after being out for a 45th game.
"If things progress the way they're going, he could be ready next week," Jack Capuano said.
Goalie Evgeni Nabokov (quadriceps) took some shots Thursday morning, the first time he's done that since going on injured reserve Jan. 6.
Sign up for Newsday’s Islanders texts with a 14-day free trial at newsday.com/islestext.