Taking on 5 million in non-dumpable salary is a favor. Sure, they needed a LW, but teams like the Isles (who are not yet at a serious contender state) don't desperately need to satisfy all positional wishes.
They do need to hit the salary floor.
Rolston isn't some great mentor either.
While I trust neither players' nor GMs' assessment of a player's 'leadership' qualities, both his teammates and Lou have a lot of good things to say about him on this account.
For me, despite our absorbing a 2-year contract (which can be buried) in exchange for a 1-year, I think this is a clear favor. There are better ways to spend 5 million than on a washed up 39-yr old. It makes more sense to overpay on a very good player than it does to overpay on a bad one. Isles should have offer sheeted Doughty for 8 million, or thrown 9 million at Richards. They didn't need to take on Rolston. I realize they are yet to hit the cap floor still, but Rolston's not the only bad contract out there. I dunno, for my money, I'd overpay a good player (or a few of them) to hit the floor.
Rolston was a good player last year, and again, they got rid of trent hunter. if you can spend 46M per season, having a 2M player playing the 4th line (who can't stay healthy) is bad. Would they rather have Jochen Hecht? I mean, there's not a lot of teams looking to dump salary. And the free agent market is a wasteland. This deal is fine from an Islander perspective.