Note: Nassau Coliseum referendum discussion continues in the previous thread, but we thought hey, here's some actual hockey news to chew.
This would be why, whether it's the prolifically vocal Dean Lombardi or the cryptically short Lou Lamoriello or the unwaveringly to-the-script Garth Snow, you can't take GM-speak strictly at face value.
After telling beat writer Tom Gulitti last week that "cap space was not an issue" in the Devils' decision to trade Brian Rolston (on an unescapable over-35 contract) to the Islanders for Trent Hunter (on a smaller cap hit and buyout-able contract), Lamoriello has ... put Hunter on waivers with the intention of buying him out. Everyone can read the financials of this situation from a mile away, but GMs have their philosophies and their reasons. (Lombardi probably thinks talking is good for PR and fans. Lamoriello and Snow probably believe their players' interests and info comes first.)
Pity Hunter in this situation, who Gulitti reported was flown into New Jersey for a physical last week (a necessity for the trade, but still. Rough summer, all while coming off injury.).After going through those hoops, he's now almost certain to be a man without a team. Coming off MCL surgery that cut his 2010-11 season short after 17 games, Hunter told reporters his knee is "100 percent," but now he has to hope, in August, some team will take a chance on that knee and his skating -- most likely on a new deal or tryout contract. It's a swift fall from NHL security to tryout candidate.
If Hunter clears waivers, he'll be an unrestricted free agent. (So yes, to answer your question, technically the Islanders could re-sign him.) P.S.: The Devils are doing the same with Colin White. I'm sure it has nothing to do with cap space.