July 28, 2011

Hunter's Tenure Ends, Isles Acquire Brian Rolston from Devils

Who would have thought a late July trade for Brian Rolston would have created as much buzz and talk as it has?

Everyone seems to be making more comments than they probably should be on the Islanders acquisition of the overpaid 38 year old forward who they got in return for the 31 year old oft-injured and painfully slow Trent Hunter.

Many people right away were able to jump to the conclusion that a big motivating factor in the swap was money, and I'm sure it was - no matter how much Garth Snow tries to play it down.

However, some thought that this couldn't possibly be all Snow was working on and that it had to be a part of a bigger deal. As we sit here on Thursday night, it appears that is the case.

It appears now that Rolston comes in to replace one of the current forwards, at least one of which could presumably be moved to bring in a top defenseman.

Photo by C. Hessel
At any rate, the Hunter for Rolston swap by itself is still a good one. It's not earth shattering, but it's a slight upgrade. Hunter had trouble staying on the ice and went through some prolonged scoring slumps. Rolston is far from the player he once was, but can still contribute 15-20 goals in a checking line role while playing all three forward positions and still be solid enough defensively to get tome PK time. He's also still got that powerful slap shot that will be useful on the power-play.

At the very least, it's better than Alexei Yashin! (Note: I'm not completely against the idea of Yashin back on a one-year deal, but understand what his buyout represents. I'm not going to go into much detail about the rumors on him since I truly think it's helping out a friend to get a better deal in Russia).

I'm noticing a lot of people reading too much into the deal, saying you can do better for the money. Yes, you absolutely can - but when you look at how far behind this team is in overall salary, you can't think about it. Its irrelevant. Snow has maintained all off-season that he wants a top defenseman. There is no reason why picking up $3 million should cause him to deviate from that. If it does, then shame on him.

As far as "helping the Devils out," who cares? If you honestly thought that the Devils were going to have a problem signing Zach Parise to a long-term deal, then you clearly have not been paying attention to the way this league operates. Just look at the New York Rangers. If the Devils want someone signed, they'll get them signed.

As mentioned earlier, this appears to be a precursor of some kind to another move with Rolston replacing a body. Good. It's nice to finally be a part of some exciting rumors now.

Who would move in a trade? Josh Bailey? Blake Comeau? Both? It would all depend on who is coming back. You can safely assume though that the player coming in return would be a defenseman.

Things just got a little more interesting around here. At least it's something to track for a bit to take our minds off of the referendum stuff.

More to come after the possible move. Also look for a referendum related post in the next day or so with my thoughts - those of a 23 year old Long Island kid.



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