As per the Globe and Mail's James Mirtle, the Devils have traded forward Brian Rolston draft pick to the New York Islanders in exchange for forward Trent Hunter. For all the people calling for Rolston to be traded, your wish has been granted. If anything, this move is a salary dump- the Devils gain $3.062 M in cap space. While the Devils are sacked with Trent Hunter's extra year at $2 M, the extra year is of little concern, seeing as the Devils now have $7.9 M in cap space- which should be enough to re-sign RFA forward Zach Parise.
Thoughts on the Trade after the jump
From a depth standpoint, this is a massive win. The Devils move a player from a position of strength (Left Wing) to gain someone from a position of Weakness (Right Wing). The catch is that Trent Hunter is a massive question mark- he missed a whopping 62 games due to a torn MCL- the same injury Zach Parise suffered. If Hunter is healthy, the Devils get some much needed reinforcements on the right wing.
For a better perspective on Hunter, here's what Isles blogger B.D. Gallof had to say about Trent Hunter
@NonAmericanHero can hit, has grit, can score, but a step slow. Willing to do what it takes. Can grind in corners
Update: Dominik from Lighthouse Hockey sent me a scouting report on Hunter
The problem is Hunter's foot speed has never been high, and it's made worse by a series of injuries. A knee injury requiring surgery ended his 2010-11 season, so I wouldn't even make a bet on how well he'll recover to whatever 100% is at age 31. I'm almost expecting a buyout, although Hunter is a good enough two-way player that if he does recover, he'll fit in with the Devils.
If anything, he looks like he's a much better version of David Clarkson, which means Clarkie could be on his way out.
If anything, here's what my lines would probably look like:
Zach Parise-Travis Zajac-Nick Palmieri
Ilya Kovalchuk-Jacob Josefson-Trent Hunter
Mattias Tedenby-Patrik Elias-Dainius Zubrus
Rod Pelley-David Steckel-Vladimir Zharkov/Eric Boulton/Cam Janssen
(Yes, David Clarkson is gone. Enjoy Winnipeg/Colorado/Florida/Anywhere but here Clarkie). If Hunter is still injured, my best guess is that Adam Henrique might start the season with the Devils. Of course, Rolston's a significantly better player than Hunter- Rolston's ability to take tough minutes and kill penalties will be missed. Hunter is more of an offensive player from what B.D. Gallof had to say about him, and if anything, Hunter will probably play with Parise or Kovalchuk.
From a financial standpoint, the Devils aren't losing anything. They save a million in the Deal, and while Hunter's contract doesn't expire until 2013, that $2 mil against the cap won't be much of a problem down the road. The knee issue might be a problem, but if that comes up again he'll be on LTIR, giving the Devils an extra $2 mil in cap space.
While the Devils do get a decent player, the real reason this trade happened was to dump salary- mission accomplished. Now we can all feel more confident of Zach Parise re-signing before the August 3rd arbitration hearing, which is a very very very good thing.