Niedermayer will play next season

Updated: June 26, 2009, 8:43 PM ET
By Pierre LeBrun | ESPN.com

MONTREAL -- Veteran star defenseman Scott Niedermayer has decided to return for the 2009-10 NHL season, according to his agent.

Niedermayer
Niedermayer

"I spoke to him and he informed that he's going to play next season," his agent Kevin Epp of Titan Sports Management told ESPN.com.

The Anaheim Ducks were hoping for a decision before the start of Friday night's entry draft. The Ducks traded or defenseman Chris Pronger not long after Niedermayer's decision. The team likely could not afford to have Niedermayer, goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Pronger all on the payroll next season.

The league announced on Friday that next season's salary cap will be $56.8 million.

Niedermayer, who turns 36 in August, informed general manager Bob Murray of his decision Thursday evening. Murray called Niedermayer "irreplaceable" after the Ducks were eliminated by Detroit in the second round of this season's playoffs.

A Ducks spokesman said the team hopes to sign Niedermayer to a new contract soon.

News that Niedermayer will play next season is also good news for Team Canada, since he is a likely candidate to be captain of the Canadian Olympic team.

"I just found out half an hour ago," Team Canada executive director Steve Yzerman told ESPN.com. "Obviously happy. I thought he had an excellent year, got stronger as the year went on and played outstanding in the playoffs. There's going to be some younger players on the D so I think it's important to have some of those veterans that have been there and he's one of those."

Pierre LeBrun covers the NHL for ESPN.com. The Associated Press contributed to this story.