It's been 231 days since Lubomir Visnovsky was dealt to the New York Islanders on the opening day of the 2012 NHL Draft. In that time he's sought to void the deal, crashed a Ferrari during a race in Slovakia, was told by an arbitrator he couldn't void the deal, attempted to remain in the KHL where he was playing during the lockout, and, finally, after dealing with his son's illness, joining the team.
On Thursday, Visnovsky passed a physical and was activated to the Islanders roster. On Friday, he practiced for the first time. He'll likely he'll be in the lineup for Saturday's game against the Buffalo Sabres.
Visnovsky will be a welcomed addition on the blueline and for their 14th-ranked power play unit, according to head coach Jack Capuano.
From Islanders Point Blank:
“It’s good to have him back. He’s been skating and will fit right in. We had him in the powerplay today right away,” Capuano said of Visnovsky’s work at practice today. “He’s another puck moving defenseman that can join the rush. We don’t generate a lot from our blueline right now… To have another puck moved is a big help for us.”
The Islanders have been through this situation before, when Evgeni Nabokov failed to report at first after being claimed on re-entry waivers in 2011. He was welcomed back and even signed a one-year extension with the Islanders last March. It's too early to tell what Visnovsky's future holds for him with the franchise -- he's scheduled to be a UFA this summer -- but for now, he's going to help a team currently on a three-game losing streak.
"I think [people] who know me, who understand me and who got a family, everybody do the same of what I do. For me, it's family first," he said. "I try to help my son, my family and I stay a little bit longer at home. Thank you for this organization, they understand everything."
By activating Visnovsky and acquiring Tim Thomas's cap hit on Thursday, along with the likely lifting of Josh Bailey's injury "suspension" on Saturday, the Islanders are well over the cap floor, setting them up for the ability to make some deals before the April 3 trade deadline. Whether those deals are trading for pieces if they're in playoff contention or dumping soon-to-be UFAs (Visnovsky, Mark Streit) remains to be seen.
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy