Hoping to make another championship run before the career of their franchise goaltender ends, the New Jersey Devils have brought back a former Stanley Cup hero.
Jason Arnott, whose overtime goal in Dallas won New Jersey’s second of three Cups in 2000, was reacquired by the Devils on Saturday from the Nashville Predators in exchange for young forward Matt Halischuk and a second-round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
In looking to get stronger at center, Devils GM Lou Lamoriello stayed in character by turning to a familiar face. Arnott, who turns 36 on Oct. 11, played parts of five seasons in New Jersey from 1997-2002, recording 97 goals and 124 assists. He had 8 goals and 20 points in the 2000 playoff run, including the double-overtime goal in Game 6 against the Stars.
"Jason Arnott is a player who brings size, strength, and experience to our hockey club," Lamoriello said. "There is no question he strengthens our center ice position."
The seventh pick in the 1993 draft by Edmonton, Arnott's first game next season will be the 1,100th of his NHL career. Over 16 seasons with the Oilers, Devils, Stars and Predators, he has 383 goals and 873 points. Arnott finished last season with 19 goals and 46 points in 63 games, adding 2 goals in Nashville’s six-game, opening-round loss to eventual Stanley Cup champion Chicago.
Nashville GM David Poile said he sat down after the season to discuss the future with Arnott, who had to waive a no-trade clause for the deal back to New Jersey to be completed.
"We talked about where his career was going and our team and who was going to be given chances and opportunities," Poile said. "The more we talked, the closer we came to an understanding that maybe this was in the best interests of both of us and it was time for Jason to go in a different direction.
"Arnie was a good player for us and our captain, but on the other side of the coin, it is an opportunity for other players. Colin Wilson, in all likelihood, will move from left wing back to center, and I think in a lot of ways he's a young Jason Arnott: big, strong, offensive type of player."
The Predators receive an up-and-coming prospect in Halischuk, who just turned 22 on June 1 and has 1 goal and 2 assists in 21 NHL games for the Devils. Halischuk scored the overtime goal to give Canada the gold medal at the 2008 World Junior Championships.
He is also a former OHL Champion and Memorial Cup participant -- he paced the OHL in goals during the 2008 postseason, and ranked fourth in points (20gp, 16g-16a), playing on a line with now-Predator forward Nick Spaling.