The Devils on Friday morning finished off a much-rumored trade by sending their now former captain to the Dallas Stars for a conditional third-round draft pick that could turn into a second-round pick in either 2011 or 2012, New Jersey GM Lou Lamoriello announced during a Friday morning conference call with reporters.
Langenbrunner, who is in the final year of a five-year contract that included a full no-trade clause, had to agree to be traded to the Stars. It's no surprise that he did.
Langenbrunner started his career in Dallas after he was selected by the Stars at No. 35 in the 1993 Entry Draft. He played 432 games as a Star and won a Stanley Cup with them in 1999. He was traded to the Devils along with current Dallas GM Joe Nieuwendyk on March 19, 2002, and won a Stanley Cup with New Jersey in 2003.
"I have a lot of friends outside of hockey (in Dallas) and I have kept in touch with a lot of people there," said Langenbrunner, who is expected to arrive in Dallas on Friday night but won't suit up for the Stars against the Rangers. "I lived there for seven years and definitely loved playing there. It was hard for me to leave, but I grew to love New Jersey. Now it's coming full circle. It's definitely a comfortable spot for me."
Langenbrunner admitted the trade Friday is bittersweet for him.
He has happily called New Jersey home for nearly nine years, but the Devils' season has not gone as planned. They are 10-28-2, dead last in the NHL with only 22 points.
Langenbrunner, who at 35 has 14 points in 31 games this season, is now heading to a contender in the Western Conference. The Stars lead the Pacific Division with 52 points and are third in the West.
"The reason of the trade is simple: With the status of payroll it's at right now and the players that need to be re-signed, we would not be re-signing Jamie and we want to see some of the younger players getting ice time he's getting in the position he's in," said Lamoriello, who confirmed the trade was completed Thursday morning but couldn't be made official until Friday.
"He's a veteran, our captain, and he doesn't deserve to be in a role where he becomes less important because of ice time. We weren't getting the results this year, and if we're not going to re-sign a player next year than that's the reason for the type of decision. No one should misinterpret this type of transaction; it has nothing to do with Jamie as a person, captain or player. It has to do with the results today."
The conditional pick the Devils will receive from Dallas will be a second-rounder in 2011 should the Stars win a round in the playoffs this season and/or re-sign Langenbrunner before the 2011 Entry Draft. If the Stars re-sign Langenbrunner after the 2011 Entry Draft and New Jersey has not already received Dallas' 2011 second-round pick, the Devils and Dallas will swap second- and third-round picks in 2012, with the Devils moving up a round.
"I lived there for seven years and definitely loved playing there. It was hard for me to leave, but I grew to love New Jersey. Now it's coming full circle. It's definitely a comfortable spot for me." -- Jamie Langenbrunner
"We had high expectations coming into this season like we do every year here in New Jersey and obviously we have not lived up to that," Langenbrunner said. "It's been a very difficult few months for all of us. This has been home for me. The organization has been great to me and I was able to win a Cup with these guys here and had a great time here. It's going to be hard leaving that, but on the other hand I see what Joe is doing in Dallas, the type of team he's building and that's something that really excites me and gives me the feeling that I can be a part of it."
Lamoriello refused to say the Langenbrunner trade is the start of a rebuilding project, but he did not deny that further deals could be in the works. However, he emphatically said "no" when someone asked him if future Hall of Fame goalie Martin Brodeur is on the trading block.
"First of all, I despise the word rebuilding because I don't think that should be the case," Lamoriello said. "We have to look at what the reasons are that we find ourselves in this situation. In my opinion it's not talent, but maybe it's the wrong talent, wrong chemistry. That starts with me. I don't look at it as rebuilding. This isn't something that you have to go subtract, subtract and subtract, and start from the bottom. Absolutely not. You have to be very careful of how you approach it and take a step back and look at the big picture and reasons to be part of the solution. There is no reason we should be in this state right now."
Trading Langenbrunner does at least get the Devils something for a player they weren't going to re-sign in the offseason. Lamoriello said he is still very hopeful of re-signing the injured Zach Parise, who is due to become a restricted free agent after the season.
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