Kenny Jonsson may not return to NHL next season.

May 15, 2003 — Kenny Jonsson, a restricted free agent, is considering not returning to the NHL next season, The Post has learned. It’s a loss that would be a significant blow to the Islanders’ defense, on which Jonsson is a top-four workhorse who averaged 23:14 a game last year.

Jonsson was quoted as saying he doesn’t want to get involved in a “fractured negotiation” and that he wants it to be as smooth as possible, sources confirmed yesterday.

Jonsson, who will be 29 at the start of next season, was quoted in a Stockholm newspaper saying he would rather not get involved in a long, tedious contract negotiation and would opt to stay in Europe if a new deal could not be worked out quickly and amicably. The comments were curious because Isles GM Mike Milbury, according to sources, wants to get Jonsson, who made $2.5 million (their third-highest paid blue-liner behind Roman Hamrlik’s $3.5 million and Janne Niinimaa’s $2.9 million) last season, locked up as soon as possible.

A rough negotiation, which doesn’t seem likely given Jonsson’s popularity with players and management, could steer the former Islanders captain in the direction of staying home next year. Milbury traded for Jonsson, currently the longest-tenured Islander, in a trade with Toronto on March 13, 1996, for Wendel Clark and Mathieu Schneider.

Milbury long has been a fan of Jonsson’s and his slick puck-handling under duress, once referring to No. 29 as the team’s best defenseman “by a country mile.” Peter Laviolette often referred to Jonsson as “brilliant” over the last two seasons, and Adrian Aucoin said Jonsson is the best defensive partner he’s ever had.

But Jonsson has been plagued by several head injuries throughout his career, which could eventually lead to his decision to not play anymore. He was knocked out of last year’s playoffs with a concussion and several times this past year sat out with what the team called “post-traumatic migraines” following heavy hits. In all, he missed 11 games this season but finished with eight goals and 26 points.

The loss of Jonsson in my opinion would be huge for the Isles. The Isles need scoring up front and one possibility is to either trade Roman Hamrlik or Kenny Jonsson for that sniper. If Jonsson were to head back home, the Isles would have to keep the remaining top 3 just to keep the defense respectable and hope that minor leaguers, draft picks or a possible free agent acquisition will boost the scoring.

22 Responses to Kenny Jonsson may not return to NHL next season.

  1. big_booty says:

    ….when the title character was named Brett Lindros.

  2. mikster says:

    Oh my God, they killed Kenny!

    Too bad, I respected him as an Islander and he played good defense all round. This may mean that Hamrlik won’t be traded though, which is not good for the Isle’s since he was great trade bait.

    They still could trade him though.

  3. IslesFan11 says:

    I can’t see Milbury not signing him. Like the article said, he’s a very popular player in the organization and the loss of KJ would only further rattle an already problem-full locker room.

  4. NYIchooch75 says:

    C’mon! It’s a frigging NY Post article! Not gonna happen, sorry. This is a product of not enough going on in the NHL right now.

  5. Gothamcityblueshirts says:

    When it comes to the Post even a broken clock is right 2 times a day. But im not saying this is one of them.

    But the Islanders have been hardliners before with the rfa’s remember that 10% raise or sit out a season? And thats somthing that Kenny saw so this would not shock me.

  6. WeStSiDe says:

    Im sick of these Euro’s all demanding this and that. Go back to where you came from if it is so bad! Wimps.

  7. WeStSiDe says:

    I swear, if I was a GM of any Hockey team, I wouldnt be trading for or drafting any of these guys, to much of a risk, they always threatin to leave, and you end up trading away talent or putting your stakes in this pick and you end up getting nothing.

  8. WeStSiDe says:

    I may be over reacting a bit but that is how I feel after this season, and it is just the start. Not much you can do about it either.

  9. Kashin says:

    As a die hard Islander fan this seams obscene. Jonnson has been hear longer than any other Islander. He was good when everyone was bad. He has had the injuries and he might miss Sweeden but he lives here and he knows what he means to the team. He gives more positive than negative. For a team that has one of the best top 4 in the league, this will be a huge hit. They have other options but he will only retire if he doesnt get the ight contract. and this is the ny post can never believe them

  10. Sands says:

    hahahhahahah Islanders suck

  11. rojoke says:

    I haven’t heard any ‘demands’, per se. All he’s saying is that if he can’t get a deal done right away, he’ll play back in Sweden. If the guy’s a free agent, restricted or no, he has to use whatever leverage he has to get a deal that he likes. European players can always play at home for a year. If North American players had another league that paid as well as the big European leagues, they’d do the same thing.

  12. WeStSiDe says:

    I think North America pays a lot better when you factor in the dollar. That is why they are over here. I understand what you mean though.

  13. swedishvoice says:

    There is truth in that article, KJ is rigt now in Jonkoping and talking to Dag Larsson the GM of Jonkoping Bluebulls (HV71) about a roster place on there team. KJ hav had a concusion problem and is not sure about how long he can play. Now he also want to go home to Husquarna…

  14. OldNord says:

    The star europeans (almost star in that case but big money in bank) can take the liberty of taking one or two years off the NHL. They have the opportunity in their countries while they are playing their best hockey, to showing what they can do in front of their Euro fans. I’m bored shitless about that cause we lost good players in the NHL but I understand that kind of decisions.

  15. JohnFlan22 says:

    Milbury favorites get royal treatment. KJ will get offered Kasparatis money and be happy with it. the real question is do the isles want him back if this is a refelection of his attitude. Sure he is brilliant but would def bring back alot via trade as long as he was sighned to a contract already. I’ve said it before, (only if you HAVE to) trade him to chicago for Daze. Chicago needs “good” Defensmen, isles need a big scoring winger, they both have injury problems, it’s an even trade, both sides change the team makeup, possibly for the better. That would be a huge hole to fill on the blueline for the isles though even with the Ninimaa deal. Isles are going to have a pretty active summer either way with all the back stabbing that was going on in the locker room, a few surprise names might get shipped out. Judging from the article, it doesn’t sound like KJ is too happy on the island if he’s really considering going back home. He can take his pimple face elswhere if he’s gonna be like that.

  16. DaMick says:

    KJ as a player has been very valuable on the isles as a good defenseman.

    BUT…his game overall has been on a downslope last 3 years…[at least offensively]

    unfortunately his concussion fears [and rightfully so] have taken a bit out of his game.

    Would it a HUGE loss? no.

    But it would be a bad loss for the isles nonetheless…

    and hopefully Milbury doesnt give him a ‘Kasper’ deal…because honestly that money can be put elsewhere…to get some scoring.


  17. Kashin says:

    why would he get that deal. Mike does know enough to not give him that deal. He is the #4 defesnemen. Mike has sign martinek, dipietro, weimer and snow to new contracts along with jonnson. those 4 deserve more than kenny. Kasper was going up so he got that contract. kenny has no more than 4 years left. Mike won’t go crazy with this.

  18. NYIchooch75 says:

    Thing was, the people up for the raises that year did absolutely nothing the year before. The team finished DEAD last, and that with an expansion team in the NHL. Anyway, I can’t even get upset at this at all. It’s a post article, and other than toilet paper, it’s useless. I mean, they were the paper that had the Lemiuex to the Rangers trade.

  19. NYIchooch75 says:

    HAhahahaha…Rangers suck worse

  20. Malurous says:

    What has the dollar got to do with this?

    But yep, for Jonsson it definitely plays better to stay. But Swedish players seem to enjoy playing home, including former Duck Jorgen Jonsson, Kenny’s brother, who left the NHL voluntarily…

    Note though, North America doesn’t pay better for everyone. The fourth-liners and part-time NHLers with two-way contracts can get more money in Russia or Switzerland. Not many opt to go to Russia, everybody knows why, but anyway.

  21. IslesFan11 says:

    Wiemer and Martinek don’t even deserve contracts..

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