Islanders open vault for Hunter

, Last Updated: 7:17 AM ET

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The New York Islanders yesterday signed forward Trent Hunter to a five-year extension worth $10 million US.

The 27-year-old was slated for unrestricted free agency on July 1 and his name had popped up in trade rumours ahead of Tuesday's NHL trade deadline.

"This is what I was determined to see happen all along -- a long-term deal," Hunter said in a release. "Even though I could have been an unrestricted free agent in the summer, I never gave any thought to playing anywhere else. I'm very proud to be an Islander every day and I didn't have any interest in being anything else other than a New York Islander.

"The contract got done today with a lot of respect and class shown on both sides, so now it's back to the race for the playoffs."

Hunter, from Red Deer, has 32 points (8-24) in 62 games.

The six-foot-three, 210-pounder has 157 points (69-88) in 306 NHL games, all with New York. He's also collected only 109 penalty minutes.

AVS ACTIVATE STASTNY

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche yesterday activated forward Paul Stastny from the injured reserve list, making him available for last night's game in Phoenix against the Coyotes.

Stastny has missed the past 15 games after having his appendix removed on Jan. 17. The injury also forced him to miss the NHL all-star game in Atlanta. The 22-year-old is Colorado's leading scorer this season with 49 points (17 goals, 32 assists) in 46 games.

HIGH NOON FOR LEAFS

TORONTO -- Decision time is looming for Toronto Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin. And his teammate Bryan McCabe.

Both players have had meetings with interim Leafs GM Cliff Fletcher as the 1 p.m. MT NHL trade deadline approaches Tuesday. And both players have no-movement clauses in their contracts, which helps them control their fate.

"Yes I had a meeting with Mats (Thursday) and I met with his agent J.P. Barry this morning," Fletcher told The Canadian Press yesterday. "And yes I met with Bryan McCabe this morning. But at this point, that's all I'm going to say. The process is ongoing."

Barry, who arrived in Toronto on Thursday night, refused comment yesterday.

It's believed Fletcher asked both players to think about possible teams they'd be willing to waive their no-movement clause for in order to make a trade happen.

The trade buzz picked up even more when Sundin, McCabe and goaltender Andrew Raycroft all skipped yesterday's practice. A team spokesman said all three players were suffering from flu-like symptoms.


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