Defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky, acquired by the New York Islanders from Anaheim in June, says he plans to continue playing in the Kontinental Hockey League rather than report to the Isles for the 2012-13 season.
Visnovsky, who led all NHL defensemen in scoring in 2010-11, has been playing with HC Slovan during the lockout. The 36-year-old had six goals and 27 points in 68 games for Anaheim last season. The Islanders acquired him for a second-round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft.
Visnovsky filed a grievance this summer through the NHL Players' Association, claiming that the no-trade clause in his contract was still valid, since he never revoked it when Edmonton traded him to Anaheim. On Sept. 12, an independent arbitrator ruled against Visnovsky and allowed the trade. The defenseman signed with HC Slovan five days later.
"I have decided to stay and continue my career in the KHL for the remainder of the 2012-13 season," Visnovsky said in a statement issued by his agent, Neil Sheehy, and reported by Newsday's Arthur Staple. "I am thankful to the Isles for being so good to me. My decision not to play in the NHL is due to family and personal reasons.
"I have made no decisions on next season. My focus now is on Slovan Bratislava, and enjoying my family in my home country."
Sheehy said his client is not upset with the Islanders. "The situation would have been the same with any NHL team," he told Staple.
Visnovsky signed a five-year, $28 million contract extension with the Kings in July 2007, and the deal didn't start until the 2008-09 season. He is scheduled to make $3 million this season with a cap hit of $5.6 million.