SUNRISE, Fla. — Kurtis Foster could have been excused if he wanted, or needed, to sit out New Jersey’s game at Florida on Tuesday night.
But after flying Monday night and Tuesday morning to join his new team just in time to head to the BankAtlantic Center for an optional skate, the veteran defenseman was feeling more excited than exhausted.
“Coming to a new team I think I’ll get a little bit of a burst of energy, a little bit of adrenaline going knowing that it’s my first time with the team,” said Foster, whom the Devils acquired in a four-player trade. “Just the excitement of meeting new guys and being with a team that’s in a lot better position than we were in Anaheim and you’re winning games and close to the playoffs, it definitely makes it a lot easier to deal with a little bit of tiredness. I’ll go back and get a good rest this afternoon and be ready to go tonight.”
Foster was acquired by New Jersey along with minor-league goalie Timo Pielmeier in exchange for defenseman Mark Fraser, center Rod Pelley and a seventh-round choice in the 2012 Entry Draft.
It was the second time in less than six months that Foster was traded. Anaheim had acquired him July 1 in exchange for fellow defenseman Andy Sutton.
New Jersey will be the sixth NHL team for the 30-year-old Foster, following Atlanta, Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Edmonton and Anaheim. He’s expected to be paired Tuesday night with Bryce Salvador and also should get time on the Devils’ power play, where he will be reunited with former Thrashers teammate Ilya Kovalchuk.
“Knowing what Jersey is all about, I want to try to play solid defense, but my game is shooting the puck and create as much offensively,” Foster said. “I know that [Kovalchuk] likes to play the off-side on the power play and I like to play the right side. Hopefully, it’s a match that works out and (I’ll) try to get him the puck as much as I can in a position where he can shoot and make sure as many of my shots through, too. If I can generate a little bit of offense, help out the PP and play a solid all-around game, that’s kind of what I’m hoping for.”
Foster says he’s 100 percent recovered from a leg problem that sidelined him during training camp and the exhibition season.
He explained that a wire that he had inserted after fracturing his left leg while with Minnesota somehow moved and went into his quad. Foster said the wire was clipped at the bone and the leg shouldn’t be an issue moving forward.
Foster broke his leg in March of 2008 and missed most of the following season, but he played in 71 games for Tampa Bay in 2009-10 and 74 games for Edmonton last season.
Foster was informed of the trade after being pulled off the ice 10 minutes into Anaheim’s practice Monday afternoon.
It wasn’t until he drove home after showering that Ducks general manager Bob Murray informed him where he was being sent.
“I really didn’t know what to think,” Foster said. “It’s kind of a weird feeling when he tells you you’re being moved but he doesn’t tell you where. He did say at that point that it was a good situation for me and it was the best thing for my career going forward. When you have a GM telling you that, it’s a good thing and when he told me it was the Devils I was pretty excited.”
Foster took a 5:30 p.m. flight from Anaheim to Dallas and then headed to South Florida on a 5:45 a.m. flight Tuesday morning.
During the optional skate, he got some one-on-one instruction from Devils assistant coach Adam Oates, who also coached Foster in Tampa Bay.
“You never want to be traded, but when you do, you know that the team you’re going to likes you and wants you, so it’s always a good feeling,” Foster said. “Even though I’ve moved on to my fourth team
in a couple of years, it is exciting, it is nice to know that I’m still wanted out there and that I think I can really help this team.
“[I’m] very, very happy. I think my wife will have a hard time leaving California. She enjoyed the beach life there, but for my family, my wife and my son, it’s a move that’s going to benefit the most for my future going ahead.”