With comments in recent days ranging from Steve Bartlett, his agent, to ESPN's Pierre Lebrun and then some response from Islanders GM Garth Snow on Wednesday regarding Thomas Vanek's contract status, I thought I'd talk to Vanek about it Thursday morning.

Candid as always, Vanek said he understands that the Islanders need to know in the next week or two whether he's open to signing here long-term. He also understands that, if he can't give an answer or doesn't like a contract offer, the Islanders may trade him by the March 5 deadline.

And, in a bit of a surprise, Vanek said even if he's traded, he'd consider signing with the Islanders if he hits the open market on July 1.

"I know Garth gave up a lot to get me here, so if they feel they need to get something back (by the deadline), I understand," Vanek told Newsday. "He's been great, the team has been great. No one has put any pressure on me.