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Trent HunterGarth came through before the deadline in a major way tonight and secured one more big piece of the Islanders future. Tonight the Islanders announced that forward Trent Hunter has been signed to a 5 year $10-Million dollar contract extension!

This is great news for the Islanders as Hunter would have reached unrestricted free agency this coming July 1st, so locking up a player that has grown up in our organization and farm system was so important because had he not been signed would have certainly either been trade bait or tested the waters this summer. Greg Logan had a great blog entry on this as the news broke just over 40 minutes ago:

As a two-way power forward who has shown a scoring touch in the past, Hunter had attracted interest from other playoff contenders, but general manager Garth Snow made a long-term commitment to a player he wanted as part of the Islanders core group.

It was a significant move because of the message it sends to other Isles in line to become free agents this summer that now is the time to decide if their future is on Long Island. No one wanted that more than Hunter, who is in his fourth full season with the Islanders.

The Islanders are yet to release an official written release on their website, but Garth Snow was interviewed by iTV, which can be viewed here.

DiPietro on what it means to lock up a player like Hunter,

“The big thing for us is that Snowy has made it clear our main focus is on winning the Stanley Cup,” DiPietro said tonight. “They felt Trent is a big piece. I feel great for Trent and his family. I know it’s been his goal to stay on Long Island.”

In my own opinion, Hunter is that guy who loves to go into the corners and cycle the puck, and he does so very effectively. He isn’t afraid to take the body or drive to the front of the net either. He is great at starting the Islanders forecheck and while he may not be the offensive threat he was projected to be, is generally the one who starts the offense down low and that is one of the most important parts of the game. I am extremely happy for Hunter and glad he will be around for a while!