Devils defenseman scores one-year deal

TORONTO -- Defenseman Scott Niedermayer of the New Jersey Devils was awarded a record-tying $7 million contract for next season by an NHL arbitrator Friday.

The award matches the award given to Philadelphia Flyers
forward John LeClair in 2000.

Niedermayer, last season's Norris Trophy winner as the NHL's
best defenseman, had requested a five-year contract reportedly
worth $45 million.

Niedermayer had 14 goals and 40 assists, and averaged nearly 26
minutes of ice time per game last year.

Last month, with Niedermayer's future still in question, the
Devils signed free-agent defenseman Richard Matvichuk to a
four-year, $7.2-million contract.

Niedermayer, 30, has spent his entire 12-year career with New
Jersey, which won Stanley Cups in 1995, 2000 and 2003.

On Thursday, the Devils avoided salary arbitration with
defenseman Brian Rafalski by signing him to a one-year contract worth $3.1 million.

Also Friday, the Devils signed eight free agents, including
center Pascal Rheaume and goaltenders Scott Clemmensen and Ari Ahonen. The others were: defensemen Bobby Allen, Ray Schultz, and
Steven Spencer, and forwards Brett Clouthier and Ryan Murphy.