The Devils traded Jamie Langenbrunner to the Stars on Friday for a conditional draft pick. Which team won out? How will the trade affect Brad Richards' status in Dallas, or Zach Parise's future in New Jersey?
Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun break it all down in their Daily Debate:
Burnside: Well, my friend, it was an interesting morning in the NHL. New Jersey Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner was shipped back to Dallas, acquired by Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk, who once upon a time was traded along with Langenbrunner from Dallas to New Jersey. But I digress!
Let's start with the Devils, who continue to solidify their place as not just the worst team in the NHL this season, but also maybe the worst team in franchise history. President and GM Lou Lamoriello said this morning the Devils had no interest in re-signing Langenbrunner (set to become an unrestricted free agent July 1) and believed it was better to try out some younger players on the power play and penalty kill.
There are a lot of permutations, but look for the Devils to ultimately get a second-round pick from Dallas. That’s not much for a guy who has won two Cups (one in Dallas, one in New Jersey) and was the captain of the U.S. team that won silver at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
I thought it pretty funny when you asked Lamoriello if Martin Brodeur might be approached about a move. The GM simply answered: "No."
LeBrun: Yes, Lamoriello could not have been more clear with me when I asked that question. Figured it had to be asked. But with the way Brodeur has played this season and with another year left on his deal at $5.2 million, a team would really have to base its desire on his Hall of Fame career, not his first-half struggles.
So the question is, who does New Jersey move next? The obvious target is Jason Arnott, who is also UFA on July 1. Arnott controls his fate with a no-movement clause. The Devils, meanwhile, should get a second-rounder as you said unless Langenbrunner doesn't re-sign with the Stars. Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk indicated today he is interested in keeping the veteran.
Burnside: Moving Langenbrunner, and any other pieces of driftwood from the Devils' lineup, does open up some salary-cap space that could allow Lamoriello to re-sign restricted free agent Zach Parise, who has been injured for most of the season. Parise is an obvious choice to replace Langenbrunner as captain, but the big question is whether he has any intention of re-upping with the Devils. It’s hard to imagine he would want to, given the sorry state of the franchise.
As for the Stars, this deal should help them in many ways. Nieuwendyk said he imagines Langenbrunner starting on a third line with Steve Ott and Adam Burish, plus it adds a right-handed shot from the point on the power play. Langenbrunner also kills penalties, something the Stars haven't done very well this season. If the Stars are going to go toe-to-toe with the big boys in the West -- the Vancouvers, Detroits and Chicagos -- balanced scoring and dressing-room chemistry are keys, and Langenbrunner should help out in those areas.
LeBrun: Twice during his media call, Nieuwendyk talked about sending a “message” with this trade, that his team is doing all it can to be competitive now and for years to come. Exciting times if you're a Stars fan. Question is, how is a team operated/owned by bank lenders pulling this off? They recently signed Trevor Daley to an extension and now take on half of Langenbrunner's $2.8 million salary. Nieuwendyk said the lenders and the NHL have supported his efforts in making the team competitive. So what does this all mean for Brad Richards, UFA on July 1?
Burnside: I asked Nieuwendyk about Richards on the media call today. He said it has been his intention all along to try to re-sign Richards, but he also said this trade was isolated from that situation.
It's been an interesting season in Dallas with its ownership in a state of flux. But instead of being stripped to the bone (as we saw the Phoenix Coyotes do early on when the league took over control of the team and sought a new owner), the Stars have added what could be a key piece to a playoff run. Langenbrunner isn't cheap, so one has to wonder whether this will ultimately make the Stars a more attractive asset to a prospective buyer.
It's risky, sure, but maybe a Pacific Division title and the opportunity to win a round or two will spur on someone who wants to take this team off the lenders' hands. Bold move by Nieuwendyk and the folks who are holding the purse strings. This has been a good hockey market, and I think it can be again. This move is a step in the right direction.
LeBrun: The Stars are big winners with this move. Whether it's a second- or third-round pick, that isn't much to pay, and they certainly weren't the only team that could have used a veteran like Langenbrunner. A source confirmed to me last night that Philadelphia had interest, but a different source said Lamoriello never brought up the Flyers to the Langenbrunner camp, only Western teams. Lamoriello has never made a trade with the Flyers. Besides, you figure if you're going to trade your captain, you'd rather not have him haunt you in your own division.
An interesting 24 hours, and with more Devils moves likely to come before the Feb. 28 trade deadline. Have a great weekend, my friend.