February 10, 2012 6:00 pm

A homecoming for Trent Hunter

Much of the talk today, naturally, was about the arrival of two rookie forwards, but it was also a notable day for one of the Kings’ veterans. Trent Hunter returned to Nassau Coliseum, his home for the previous eight-plus seasons as a member of the New York Islanders. Hunter was drafted by Anaheim in 1998 and traded to the Islanders two years later, and made his debut during the 2001-02 playoffs. Hunter was a two-time 20-goal scorer, but suffered a torn MCL last season and was limited to 17 games. Then, on July 28, the Islanders traded him to New Jersey, and the Devils placed him on waivers and bought out his contract four days later. The Kings invited Hunter to training camp last September, then signed him to a one-year contract. In 496 career NHL games, Hunter has 101 goals and 135 assists, and after practice today, he shared thoughts about returning to Long Island.

HUNTER: “Eight years, but in the organization my entire career, so I came and went in this building quite a few times.’’

Question: Looks pretty much the same, probably…

HUNTER: “A little bit of new paint here and there. A lot of character. [smiles]’’

Question: Obviously you were hurt last season and the Islanders made the decision to to cut ties. Were you able to get past that relatively quickly?

HUNTER: “It is a business. It’s obviously tough, because I was here a long time, and especially last year, with not playing much. It was tough. When you’re hurt, you’re around the guys and around the team, but you’re not really. You’re kind of on the outside looking in. Last year was definitely a tough year for me, but like I said, it’s a business and everything happens for a reason.’’

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