Lubomir Visnovsky Spurns Islanders, Decides to Remain Overseas in KHL

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IJanuary 7, 2013

GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 31:  Lubomir Visnovsky #17 of the Anaheim Ducks skates with the puck during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Arena on March 31, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Coyotes defeated the Ducks 4-0.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The NHL may be making its long-awaited return to North America, but not all the players will be doing the same.

According to Newsday's Arthur Staple, New York Islanders defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky has decided to remain in Slovakia and play out the rest of the KHL season:

Statement from L. Visnovsky: "I have decided to stay and continue my career in the KHL for the remainder of the 2012-13 season...

— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) January 7, 2013

Of course, TSN's Bob McKenzie notes that the NHL and KHL might not let this happen quite as easily as Visnovsky thinks:

NHL says it's been assured KHL won't let players with valid NHL deals play in KHL. Guess that "assurance" will be put to test. #visnovsky

— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) January 7, 2013

No matter what happens, this trade certainly isn't going well for the Isles. 

New York sent a second-round pick in the 2013 NHL draft to the Anaheim Ducks for Visnovsky back in June, but it appears it might be a while before Islander fans get to see him in uniform. 

Before potentially spurning the Islanders, the 36-year-old spent seven years with the Los Angeles Kings and has split the last four between Edmonton and Anaheim. 

During the 2010-11 season, he had a marvelous season with the Ducks, as he tallied 18 goals and 50 assists in what was the most productive campaign of his career. He took a step back last year (six goals, 21 assists), but still served as a crucial piece that New York was excited about.

The Islanders finished last in the Atlantic division at 34-37-11 last season and were near the very bottom of the league in both goals per game and goals allowed per game. 

With the potential to create offense from the back, Visnovsky surely would have helped in both of those areas. Even during what was a down 2011-12 campaign, he would have ranked second among New York defensemen in points. 

Instead, the Islanders will have to hope Travis Hamonic and other youngsters are able to take significant steps forward in 2013.

Whatever happens, it's probably safe to say that Visnovsky isn't making a very good name for himself in New York.