|Langenbrunner, a two-time Stanley Cup champion, hoisting the goods in 2003.
Jamie Langenbrunner is headed back where he began his NHL career.
On Friday, the Devils announced they had dealt their captain to the Dallas Stars in exchange for a conditional third-round pick in 2011. Langenbrunner did not dress for Thursday’s game, fueling speculation that a deal was imminent. Reports confirmed that he had agreed to waive the no-trade clause in his contract and expected to be moved.
If Dallas wins a playoff round or re-signs Langenbrunner before this year's Entry Draft, then the pick becomes a second-rounder in 2011. If that doesn't happen and the Stars re-sign Langenbrunner after the draft, then the Devils get the Stars' second-rounder in 2012 in exchange for their own third-round pick.
Devils' President/CEO/GM Lou Lamoriello addressed the news in a conference call.
"When it's a quality person who has given you what Jamie has given, been part of success, a Stanley Cup, then certainly (the trade) is difficult," Lamoriello said. "But if it were easy, anybody could do some of these things we have to do. Unfortunately, the decision with the status that we're in, is being made for the right reasons."
The trade closes out Langenbrunner's outstanding run of eight-plus seasons in New Jersey that included the club’s third Stanley Cup championship in 2003. He was an integral part of the team’s fortunes that spring, posting a League-best 11 goals and 18 points in 24 games.
Personally, it’s something you don’t want to happen. I understand it’s part of the business, friends and people come and go. I think he’s a great leader. - David Clarkson
Langenbrunner appeared in 564 games as a Devil, collecting 142 goals (12th in club history), 243 assists (11th) and 385 points (10th). His 32 game-winners are fifth-best in Devils’ history.
He's four games shy of 1,000 for his NHL career.
The Cloquet, Minn., native was acquired from Dallas in a 2002 blockbuster that also brought Joe Nieuwendyk to the Devils in exchange for Jason Arnott, Randy McKay and a first-round pick. Nieuwendyk is currently the Stars’ general manager. The Devils reacquired Arnott in a trade this summer.
Now Langenbrunner returns to the team that selected him in the second round, 35th overall, in 1993. He was a member of the Stars’ 1999 Stanley Cup winner, then lost out to the Devils the next season when Arnott’s double-overtime goal clinched New Jersey’s second crown.
Thursday’s 4-2 loss to the Flyers extended the Devils’ (10-28-2) skid to three games with their 14th defeat in 16 outings. While the decision to move a respected veteran leader is never an easy one, Langenbrunner will be an asset for the Pacific Division-leading Stars (24-13-4).
"We have all gone through some situations here that none of us are accustomed to," Lamoriello said. "I start with myself. Right now, we all have to become part of the solution and not part of the problem."
Other decisions may follow.
"Right now, we will be making every decision that we possibly can to push ourselves forward to certainly get out of what we're in right now," Lamoriello said. "I believe that right now we have to get a total consistent approach and everybody has to put aside whatever aspirations we had at the beginning of the year – whatever we looked at as the team on paper – and right now whatever decisions have to be made going forward will have to be made for the right reasons. There could be more, yes."
No announcement has been made on a replacement for the captaincy. The Devils wrap up a home-and-home with the Flyers Saturday in Philadelphia.
A two-time Olympian, Langenbrunner captained Team USA to a silver medal at the 2010 Vancouver Games. His leadership skills were admired by his Devils teammates.
“You always look up to certain guys,” David Clarkson
said. “Jamie’s a right winger, a right-handed shot. I tried to pick up little things about the way he played. Personally, it’s something you don’t want to happen. I understand it’s part of the business, friends and people come and go. I think he’s a great leader.”
Clarkson added: “He will be missed.”
Langenbrunner has four goals, 10 assists in 31 games this year. He missed eight games with a neck injury suffered against Buffalo on Nov. 10.
As one-third of the successful ZZ Pops line with Zach Parise
and Travis Zajac
, Langenbrunner set career highs In 2008-09 with 29 goals, 40 assists and 69 points. That followed being named the eighth captain in club history on Dec. 5, 2007.
Langenbrunner’s six career playoff game-winners are tied for the most in team history (Patrik Elias
, Claude Lemieux, Scott Stevens, Petr Sykora
). His four career postseason overtime goals are tied for first among active players (Chris Drury).