The Islanders rounded out their revamped defense yesterday by signing two-time Stanley Cup winner and free-agent Brad Lukowich to a two-year, $2 million deal, stretching their payroll even further in to the mid-$30 million range.
Another noted fleet-skated puck mover, Lukowich will join the new-look rearguard with Janne Niinimaa, Alexei Zhitnik and Brent Sopel in what will likely be the team's top-four defensmen. Radek Martinek and rookies Chris Campoli and Bruno Gervais will battle for the final two spots when training camp begins next month.
Last year, Hunter, 25, led the Islanders with 25 goals in his rookie season and made $544,000, which is just under the new league minimum. He could stand to make the largest raise of any of the four.
''I feel I'm a good fit for Coach (Steve) Stirling because the guys like Zhitnik, Sopel and (Janne) Niinimaa can really move the puck.''
(Hahn's was too busy writing about Lindros to do give Lukowich any more than a blurb)
The Islanders added more depth and experience to their revamped defensive corps yesterday by signing Brad Lukowich to a two-year, $2 million contract. The 6-1, 210-pound stay-at-home defenseman, who turns 29 today, won his second Stanley Cup in the last NHL season as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning. He won his first Cup with Dallas in 1999. Lukowich was tied for the seventh-best plus-minus ratio (plus-29) in the NHL in 2003-04.
Loss Of Lukowich Leaves Lightning Light On D
Tampa Bay had offered Lukowich a two-year deal Tuesday, but it was for less money than the Islanders offered and was quickly turned down. The loss of Lukowich, though not unexpected by Lightning officials, leaves a hole on the blue line for a No. 6 defenseman.
Curtis Leschyshyn has put his house in Stittsville up for sale and is now officially looking for a new home in the NHL. The unrestricted free agent was told by Senators GM John Muckler earlier this week that the club has decided to go in a different direction and he won't be back.
"I'm not upset, but it would be fair to say I'm a little disappointed," said Leschyshyn, one of the club's assistant captains. "I really wanted to come back and be part of that because that's a pretty exciting place to be.
It's believed Phoenix, Boston, the Islanders, Pittsburgh and Florida have all shown interest in Leschyshyn, who would bring a solid veteran presence to any team.
If the Isles could ever manage to add Leschyshn or Witt then their defensive depth would be excellent. The problem is they have a lot of 3/4 type guys. Witt IMO would instantly make this teams defensvie unit better than last years while Leschyshyn would make it about even, if it isnt already.
The past two years in OTT, he played only 54 and 56 games. THAT's a chunk of missed time to rely on such a player. If signing him, NYI need more depth to cover a very likely injury that removes him for the lineup.
This does not take into consideration if Curtis is playing at less than 100% during various points. For example, he misses 4 games in a row, then plays 2 thinking he's healthy, then ges out another 3-4 games. Don't know how productive this signing would be...
Marchment has already stated he would like to return to TOR.
Witt requires a trade and then a contract extension because he is on a one year deal. I wouldn't trade any significant roster player or prospect for a very likely one year rental.
I'd give a late round pick and Papineau.
I am happy with the defense lineup of the Isles as of right now, Toronto is rumored at looking elsewhere for D-men (Witt, Hamrlik). I dont think hamrlik is interested in joining the leafs with the articles I have read so far. That leaving Toronto re-signing Marchment as a last resort in case nothing goes through as planned. But again, I dont know if Isles are interested in another D-man now that 6 players plus 2 rookies will be fighting for 7 spots. The Leschyshyn article could of been before the Lukowich signing....Isles could of dropped out in interest in Leschyshyn now that we signed Lukowich. I dont know?