In a transaction I didn't see coming, the New Jersey Devils traded Brian Rolston to the New York Islanders for Trent Hunter in a swap of veteran forwards.
Certainly I could very easily bring up comparisons on age and salary alone. But it is very apparent the Devils were shedding a player in the twilight of his career who hasn't provided much bang for the buck since leaving the Minnesota Wild as a free agent following the 2007-2008 season.
Rolston's second tour of duty with New Jersey appeared to be rather a forgettable one. He scored 49 goals in 209 regular season games. If you add 3 goals in 12 playoff games over the 2009 and 2010 postseasons, he ended up with 52 goals in 221 games in the last three seasons wearing the red and black of the Devils. Rolston was a member of the Devils' 1995 and 2000 Stanley Cup championship teams.
But at age 38, what does Rolston bring to a young Islanders team? Leadership? Experience? Possible depth up front? Either way, don't expect much offense from him as he winds down his career. But remember that if you are a National Hockey League player, it's your all-around game that will allow you to have longevity in the league. This includes having to be successful on the defensive side of the puck.
Islanders general manager Garth Snow told Newsday's Katie Strang he likes the potential impact Rolston's leadership will bring to his hockey team.
"He's a winner that leads by example," Snow said. "He's a great addition to our locker room."
Hunter moves across the New York City metropolitan area from Long Island over to New Jersey with experience, but at only 31 years old, he's in the typical prime of one's career. Drafted in the sixth round back in 1998 by the Anaheim Ducks, Hunter didn't cement himself in the NHL until 2003 where he scored a career-best 25 goals in 77 regular season games. He only played 17 games last season before season-ending knee surgery back in February. Hunter hasn't been known much for his scoring, but he is expected to have enough offense to help the Devils out.
The two Atlantic Division rivals are each looking to return to the playoffs next spring. How much of a factor Rolston and Hunter will be remains to be seen.
New Jersey Devils official news release (July 28):
Devils deal for Trent Hunter
New York Islanders official news release (July 28):
Islanders acquire Rolston from New Jersey
The Bergen Record's Devils page (July 28):
Devils trade Brian Rolston in three-team trade
Newark Star-Ledger's Devils page (July 28):
Devils trade Brian Rolston to Islanders
Long Island Newsday's Islanders page (July 28):
Isles trade for Brian Rolston
In Lou We Trust (July 28):
Brian Rolston traded to the Islanders...
Lighthouse Hockey (July 28):
Analysis: Brian Rolston-Trent Hunter trade...