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Numbers Game: Islanders acquire Visnovsky

Scott Cullen
6/22/2012 8:21:41 PM
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The New York Islanders landed a skilled veteran defenceman, whose salary cap hit is actually a benefit.

Numbers Game examines the Isles' acquisition of Lubomir Visnovsky.

The Islanders Get: D Lubomir Visnovsky.

Visnovsky, 35, has been one of the most productive offensive defencemen in the game in recent seasons. Since 2005-2006, he ranks third among all blueliners, behind Nicklas Lidstrom and Dan Boyle, with 337 points.

As you might expect from a 5-foot-10 puck-moving defenceman, Visnovsky can be overpowered in tight quarters, but he can handle the puck, quarterback the power play and really fire the puck from the point.

What makes Visnovsky especially attractive to the Islanders, besides the simple fact that he's a bona fide top-four defenceman who can play 20 minutes a night, is that he comes with a cap hit of $5.6-million while he's only owed $3-million in salary in 2012-2013. For an Islanders team that tends to be near the salary floor, a player that counts for more against the cap than the actual cash going out is all the more desirable.

Visnovsky will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of next season, which also makes him appealing. If the Islanders are in the playoff hunt, Visnovsky will likely be a significant part of that bid, but if the Isles fall out of playoff contention -- it's been known to happen -- then Visnovsky would figure to be an appealing trade commodity, one that would easily bring a second-round pick (if not more) in return. Should that come to pass, Visnovsky would effectively be a free rental for the season.

The Ducks Get: A second-round pick in 2013.

Getting a second-round pick gives the Ducks about a 30% chance of yielding an NHLer and, with the pick coming next year, it's going to be a while before there is any opportunity to see if that player materializes into an NHL player.

Even though Visnovsky's 27 points last season was his lowest since 2002-2003, his role was reduced in the second half of the season (playing 18:59 per game after the All-Star break), which leaves Cam Fowler as the unquestionable No. 1 offensive defenceman for the Ducks.

As a potential replacement for Visnovsky, look to undersized Finnish blueliner Sami Vatanen, a 5-foot-9 blueiner who has 103 points and a plsu-40 rating in 156 games over three seasons in Finland's SM-Liiga.

Additionally, consider that the return for a potential Bobby Ryan trade could involve a defenceman joining an Anaheim blueline that isn't terribly deep right now.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.

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