"There is no question he is one of our core players," general
manager Lou Lamoriello said. "He is the prototypical Devils
player. He works hard. He is a team player. He is a quality
Langenbrunner will earn about $2.8 million per year in the deal
that was finalized around noon Saturday, the start of the NHL's
free agency signing period.
While he would have been willing to negotiate with other teams,
Langenbrunner said in a telephone interview that staying with the
Devils should give him more shots at winning the Stanley Cup.
"That's huge for me," said Langenbrunner, who played on
championship teams with Dallas in 1999 and the Devils in 2003. "I
have been fortunate to play in this league, and for the last nine
or 10 years to make the playoffs and to have a chance.
"That's all you want," he added. "You don't know what is
going to happen next year, but staying with the Devils I think
gives me a shot."
Other factors for Langenbrunner, who will be 31 in July, were
the length of the deal and his comfort level with the Devils
organization despite recent turnover. Claude Julien was hired as
coach last month to replace Lamoriello, who took over after Larry
Robinson resigned in December.
"We all knew someone else would coach," Langenbrunner said
about the hiring of Julien. "Unlike most organizations where a
coach coming in influences everything, you know what to expect in
New Jersey. [Defenseman] Colin White had him as a coach in juniors
and he liked him."
Acquired from Dallas late in the 2001 season, Langenbrunner had
11 goals in the Devils' run to the Cup in 2003.
Langenbrunner was third on the team in scoring last season,
posting 19 goals and 34 assists in 80 games. He added three goals
and 10 assists in nine playoff games. New Jersey swept the New York
Rangers before losing in five games to the eventual champion
Carolina Hurricanes in the second round.
Stephen Bartlett, Langenbrunner's agent, said 25 or 26 teams
wanted to talk to Langenbrunner, one of the game's top two-way
With Langenbrunner under contract, Lamoriello still has to find
a way to sign Patrik Elias, who also is a free agent. The left wing
had 16 goals and 29 assists in 38 games after returning from a
battle with hepatitis.
The 30-year-old Elias is believed to be looking for a new
contract that would pay him the league maximum of $8.8 million, or
20 percent of the cap.
The signing of Langenbrunner pushes the Devils' salary
commitments to about $39 million.
While the salary cap is $44 million, Lamoriello can exceed that
figure by 10 percent provided the team gets back to the cap limit
by the start of the regular season.