The New York Islanders have acquired winger Brian Rolston from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for forward Trent Hunter. The Isles also receive a conditional draft pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft as part of the deal.
Rolston, 38, has been in the NHL since 1994-95 when he broke in with the Stanley Cup champion Devils. He has also played for the Colorado Avalanche, Boston Bruins and Minnesota Wild during his NHL career. The past three seasons, he had his second tour of duty with New Jersey. In 1,186 career games, the Flint, Michigan, native has 335 goals and 737 points. He added 19 goals and 31 points in 70 career playoff contests. Last season, Rolston scored 14 goals and 34 points in 65 games with New Jersey.
Rolston has also represented the United States in international competitions including the World Juniors (1991-1993), two World Cups (1996 and 2004) and three Olympic Teams (1994, 2002 and 2006). He won the silver medal at the 2002 Olympics and helped Team USA win the 1996 World Cup.
Hunter, 31, made his Islanders debut during the 2001-02 playoffs. He has been plagued by injuries the past three seasons and last year scored one goal and added three assists in just 17 games. In his NHL career, Hunter has 99 goals and 229 points in 459 career games.
Hunter’s style was not a good fit on the new, younger Islanders club and he did not really have a role on the team as it is presently configured. A new start in New Jersey is probably best for the veteran forward who was often a fan favorite for his physical style of play.
Meanwhile, Rolston will take over the veteran leadership role that Doug Weight filled the past few seasons when he was healthy. Rolston will be entering his 17th NHL season and has won a Stanley Cup and played on the biggest of international stages. The Isles are hopeful that his experience will help teach some of the younger players how to win in the NHL.