|Pandolfo was excited about the Niedermayer signing. |
President/CEO/GM Lou Lamoriello announced the signing of Rob Niedermayer while the Devils were still out on the ice for Friday's practice. Once they learned of the move, the players were quick to express their enthusiasm.
"He's a veteran player that's been on winning teams," captain Jamie Langenbrunner said. "He knows how to play, and he plays hard. You've got to like having that kind of guy around."
Because Niedermayer has spent the last seven seasons out West with Calgary and Anaheim, he's something of an unknown for some of the Devils.
Veterans such as Langenbrunner and Jay Pandolfo, however, got a firsthand look at Niedermayer's two-way abilities during the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals, when the Devils edged Anaheim in seven games for the franchise's third title.
"He's going to be really good for us," Pandolfo said.
The younger brother of former Devils defenseman Scott, Niedermayer would go on to win the Cup in 2007, when the Ducks defeated Ottawa.
Jacques Lemaire, having coached in the West with Minnesota for nine years, knows what Niedermayer can add.
"He played against us so many times, I should know him," Lemaire said. "I think he's one of the great checkers. They had a great line in Anaheim (with Travis Moen and Sami Pahlsson) when they won, and (he's) always been a good defensive player. He does everything on the ice well, and he has experience."
That kind of veteran savvy is invaluable.
"We could use some more guys that have played," Langenbrunner said. "There's a lot of young guys vying for spots, and obviously they feel somebody might not be ready yet, so they brought somebody in."
En route from Kamloops, British Columbia, where he had been training, Niedermayer will likely join the team by Monday. The Devils host the Islanders in their preseason finale on Tuesday. Lemaire sees Niedermayer fitting either in the middle or on the wing.
"I think he could play both," said the head coach. "He could play both, easily. We'll see our demand and we'll go from there."
He had not yet spoken to Niedermayer as of early Friday afternoon, but has a good feel for what the organization has gained.
"I know the player, I know what he's going to do," Lemaire said. "I know what type of person he is – he comes from the same family. He should be easy to coach."
Niedermayer is listed at 6-2, 200 lbs., and will add size to the Devils' middle that already includes Travis Zajac
(6-2, 200) and Dainius Zubrus
"I think it'll be great," Zajac said. "He'll be another veteran leader who has won before. I've only faced him a couple of times, but he's tough to play against. He's good on draws, and he'll obviously be good on the penalty kill."
Pandolfo was Scott's teammate for eight years in New Jersey, winning two Stanley Cups together. He had high praise for the newest member of Jersey's Team.
"He's a great two-way player and he's going to help out a lot," said Pandolfo, who called the junior Niedermayer "a good team guy."
Niedermayer had played some wing in recent seasons, but said on a Friday conference call that he's comfortable at center. That would bolster the Devils' forward group in a competitive Atlantic Division.
"It's really good in our division to have some big centerman," Pandolfo said. "He adds that, too, which is a big plus for us."