Roloson off to Islanders

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:04 AM ET

Dwayne Roloson wanted two years, but the Edmonton Oilers only offered one.

So the veteran goaltender is taking his stick and his pads to New York, signing a two-year $5-million contract with the Islanders yesterday.

'SECOND YEAR'

'"If they would have given me that extra year, I definitely would have signed it," said Roloson. "If we can get a second year from the Oilers, I would have signed with them. But that's hindsight now, I have to move forward and unfortunately I'm not coming back to Edmonton.

"I made a lot of great friends there, I had lot of success there, and the guys in the locker-room are great guys. Unfortunately it didn't happen and it's time to move on."

Roloson, 39, was arguably the Oilers' best player last season.

He won back his starting job from Mathieu Garon and went on to play 63 games, posting a 28-24-9 record with a 2.77 goals against average.

Considering how well Roloson played, asking for a two-year deal didn't seem extravagant, but the Oilers were obviously looking to go in another direction.

Later in the day they went on to sign Nikolai Khabibulin to a four-year, $15-million deal.

"I was a little bit surprised," Roloson said. "But when I talked to Tamby (Oilers GM Steve Tambellini) he gave us one offer and that was it. We came back to him and there was no movement, so we figured that they didn't want me back.

"But I'm glad things worked out the way they have today, that's part of the game. That's a part of the game when you're looking in from the outside, you see the dollars and you see what the guys are doing for a living and it all looks great. But this part of it is tough, it's tougher than you can imagine, but at the same time you learn to deal with it and you move on."

Roloson was acquired by the Oilers from the Minnesota Wild just prior to the trade deadline in 2006. He went on to backstop the team to their first Stanley Cup final appearance since 1990.

However, he was injured in the opening game of the final against the Carolina Hurricanes and was forced to watch as the Oilers went on to lose the series in seven games.

That off-season, the native of Simcoe, Ont., signed a three-year extension with the Oilers, which expired at the conclusion of this past season.

"I had a lot of fun in Edmonton and met a lot of great people in the organization, that's for sure," Roloson said. "Any time you're part of an organization that are hanging banners of guys up to the rafters that are superstars of the game, it's great to be a part of that.

"I learned a lot from those guys that came back. Looking back at my career, Edmonton is not going to be one of those spots that I'm going to forget any time soon."

In New York, Roloson will likely play a backup role to Rick DiPietro. The first-overall pick in the 2000 NHL draft is about to enter into his fourth of a 15-year, $67.5-million contract with the Islanders.

FIVE GAMES

DiPietro was limited to just five games last year due to a knee injury.

"I haven't had any assurances when it comes to playing time," Roloson said.

"You're the only two guys on the team that do the same job and there is only one net out there."


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