In an ironic twist of fate, what will quite possibly be considered as Brian Rolston’s most helpful move he ever made as a Devil will also be his last. Rolston agreed to waive his no-trade clause, resulting in a trade sending him to the New York Islanders in exchange for RW Trent Hunter. (The trade is conditional upon Hunter, who underwent knee surgery for a torn MCL on February 8th, passing a physical). Rolston has one year remaining on his five year contract with a cap hit this season of $5,062,500. Hunter has two years remaining on his contract at a $2,000,000 cap hit per season.
Clearly, this trade was made so that the Devils could clear cap space and the Islanders could reach the cap floor. With the additional $3,062,500 in cap space now available to the Devils as a result of this trade, it’s highly likely that the next headline we’ll see regarding the Devils is that they have agreed to a long term deal with Zach Parise. If this is indeed the case, then we would have Rolston to thank for enabling the Devils to sign Parise for basically the remainder of his hockey career. After all, Rolston did agree to waive his no-trade clause to make this trade happen.
Of course, as much as we may want to, we’re cautioned not to jump to conclusions about what the implications of this trade may be regarding any long-term deal with Parise. As Lou Lamoriello told Rich Chere of the Star Ledger today, "I don't want to mix the situations. Until something is done you're never close but I don't think anyone can question the respect we have for Zach."
And I don’t think anyone can question any Devils fan for obsessively checking Twitter looking for the big announcement confirming that the Devils have locked up not only Ilya Kovalchuk but also Zach Parise for life. This is an exciting time for the Devils and their fans…thanks, in no small part, to Brian Rolston.
This trade came as a surprise to many today and for more than one reason. It’s a very rare sight indeed to see trades happen between the Devils and any of the other teams in the Atlantic Division. The last trade the Devils made with a division opponent was with the Islanders on June 30, 2009. Here are the last times the Devils traded with the other teams in the Atlantic Division:
Pittsburgh Penguins – March 19, 2002
Philadelphia Flyers – March 11, 1986
New York Rangers – Never