May 3, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Islanders defensemanLubomir Visnovsky
(11) handles the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period in game two of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. The New York Islanders won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
NASSAU VETERANS MEMORIAL COLISEUM OF LEARNING
Name: Lubomir Visnovsky
Evaluation Year: 2013
Days Absent: 13 (due to personal issues)
Scholarship: 2 years/$9,500,000 (expires after the 2014-15)
Achievements: 35GP, 3G, 11A, 14PTS, 12 +/-, 20PIM
Class List and Grade History
As you all know, the Lubomir Visnovsky era on the Island started a bit rocky, but all’s well that ends well.
Originally acquired from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a second round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, Visnovsky filed for the trade to be voided because of a potential no-trade clause he thought was in his contract.
After an arbitrator ruled the clause invalid, the lockout began and he signed a deal with HC Slovan Bratislava of Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League.
When the lockout ended, Visnovsky stated he wanted to finish out the year with the Russian club. but that wasn’t possible due to the deal the NHL and KHL had in place stating that once the lockout was over they would respect each other’s contracts.
A short time later, Lubo cited family issues for his failure to appear at Isles camp on the respective due date, ultimately leading to a team suspension until he reported. Some say there wasn’t an issue at all and his hold out was to defy the arbitrator’s ruling.
Regardless of what the issue was, Visnovsky reported to the Isles and once the suspension was lifted, cleared to make his Isles debut on February 9th against the Buffalo Sabres.
Visnovsky wasted no time in contributing to his new team, posting two assists in just two games as an Isles d-man.
A short time after recording his first points, the Islanders and Visnovsky would agree on a 2-year contract extension that would keep Lubo in the Blue and Orange until the 2014-15 season.
He finished the 2012-13 campaign with 3G and 11A for 14PTS in 35 games during his first season with the team.
Even more impressive than his offensive stats was the fact that Visnovsky registered a +12 +/- and led the team in that category during the 2012-13 season.
Visnovsky is a very offensively-minded and equally skilled defenseman, who is an excellent skater and with some nifty forechecking. And he excels at moving/cycling the puck, and is an exceptional passer as well.
I for one am very excited to see what he can do with a full training camp and an entire 82 game season.
With the departure of Mark Streit from blueline duties, I really believe we will see Lubomir step up this season and show us exactly why GM Garth Snow traded a second round draft pick to acquire his services.
Streit’s role as Power Play ‘quarterback’ overshadowed and eventually hindered Visnovsky’s willingness to impose his offensive prowess onto opponents, but rest assured this season he’ll be afford the space to flex his offensive muscles.
During the 2010-11 season he recorded 18G, 50A, 68PTS with an equally as impressive +18 in the +/- category.
With Streit’s departure Visnovsky is expected to lead the charge for breakout plays, and to spearhead a relatively young power play. No doubt in my mind that Snow expects Lubo to step up his leadership qualities as well, helping to mold a much more competitive special teams, but also teaching the youth of tomorrow how to properly play the position.
But the question remains as to whether or not Lubomir Visnovsky can fill the ‘void’ left behind with Streit and deliver the goods for the Islanders this season?
Are you excited to see how “Lubo” will take over the blueline next year in Streit’s absence?