Lubomir Visnovsky appeared to be the biggest steal of draft-day trades, but the latest NHL rumor floating around is that the veteran defenseman does not want to play for the New York Islanders. Visnovsky was acquired by the Islanders for a second-round pick, but filed a grievance to void the deal a month after it was completed. Apparently Lubomir Visnovsky believes his no-trade clause is still valid from his contract with the Edmonton Oilers. Lubomir Visnovsky hopes to force arbitration to find whether or not his no-trade clause from the original contract is still valid. In most cases of a trade, such clauses may become invalid.
Visnovsky’s situation seems eerily similar to Evgeni Nabokov’s reluctance to play for the Isles last year. The New York Islanders acquired Nabokov on waivers, blocking a deal that would have sent the veteran goaltender to the playoff-bound Detroit Red Wings. After eventually joining the Islanders, Nabokov posted incredible numbers before returning to New York for the upcoming season on a one-year deal. Visnovsky is in the final year of his contract with the Anaheim Ducks, but has a few options for wiggling out of the trade that sent him to New York.
Lubomir Visnovsky could simply win an eventual arbitration hearing that would entitle him to his no-trade clause. The circumstances are certainly unusual, as Visnovsky has waited a full month before pursuing his grievance, but if his clause is valid he could void the trade to the Islanders. Visnovsky could also attempt to gain a financial settlement for his ignored clause before simply staying with the Ducks. Lubomir Visnovsky has also expressed an interest in fielding offers from KHL teams and possibly playing in Russia rather than finishing his NHL contract with the New York Islanders. If Lubomir Visnovsky opts for the KHL, the New York Islanders will be out the second-round pick that landed them the veteran defenseman at what seemed like an incredible bargain.
Ultimately, Visnovsky could be a great fit for the Islanders. New York needs a puck-moving defenseman and Lubomir Visnovsky’s veteran presence could be a positive influence on the young players the Islanders are developing. New York has an obvious void at defenseman if Visnovsky slips away, in addition to the loss of the second-round pick used to acquire him. It appears Visnovsky is pursuing both the KHL and an NHLPA grievance to avoid playing with the Islanders this year.