Ben Lovejoy was traded to the Dallas Stars by the New Jersey Devils for Connor Carrick and a third-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft on Saturday.
Lovejoy, a defenseman who can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, is in the final season of a three-year contract he signed with the Devils on July 1, 2016. The 35-year-old won the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2015-16 and has seven points (two goals, five assists) in 51 games this season. On the penalty kill, he is averaging 3:46 of ice time and has 28 blocked shots and 11 hits.
"We've been, really all season, battling injuries with our back end," Stars general manager Jim Nill said. "Marc Methot (lower body) has been out all year. Stephen Johns (upper body) out all year. And you get to a point where we know that's where they're at. So we knew we had to add some more bodies to the back end. And there's not a lot of defensemen out there. The chance to get Ben is really what we're looking for; a real steady guy, good penalty killer. He can eat big minutes back there. And that's going to help to move the minutes around on the back end.
"He's experienced. He's won a Stanley Cup, and he's been around a long time. He gives you a veteran presence, exactly what we're looking for, especially for this time of year."
Lovejoy has 99 points (20 goals, 79 points) and a plus-53 rating in 524 NHL games with the Penguins, Anaheim Ducks and Devils.
"Ben was a consummate professional that our young players could look up to during his time here and fulfilled all of our expectations when he came to New Jersey," Devils general manager Ray Shero said. "He was integral to the growth of our team and an important part of our group that returned to the playoffs last season."
[RELATED: 2018-19 Trade Tracker]
Devils coach John Hynes said he will be sorry to see Lovejoy go.
"It's really bittersweet when you look at Ben, he's a big loss for our team, I think on and off the ice," Hynes said. "He's a...Stanley Cup champion and a great veteran leader ... and a tremendous influence on our young players. He was a big part of us building our culture and it's disappointing to see him leave.
"I'm really happy for him, he's able to compete in the playoffs on a team that I think they're looking for a Stanley Cup run, so he's certainly going to help them, and really thankful for everything that Ben did on and off the ice for us."
Carrick, a 24-year-old defenseman, has four points (one goal, three assists) in 14 games this season. He also played in four games with Texas in the American Hockey League and had two points (one goal, one assist).
Acquired by the Stars from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for a seventh-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft on Oct. 1, Carrick can become a restricted free agent on July 1.
Carrick, who was chosen in the fifth round (No. 137) of the 2012 NHL Draft by the Washington Capitals, has 34 points (10 goals, 24 assists) in 181 NHL games with the Capitals, Maple Leafs and Stars.
"I know Connor a little bit," Hynes said. "He was in Hershey [of the AHL] and I was in [Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL] so you know he's a very competitive player, right-shot D, can move the puck, he skates well, so you know it'll be a very good opportunity for him to be able to come in and I think get more minutes and more opportunity than maybe he did in Toronto or Dallas. He's a guy we're excited about and hopefully he comes in and plays well.
"For us it's important and I think it's nice that we got a player back; you have another player that we can have in our lineup that can help us this year and another potential guy who maybe he's going to be a Devil for a while. I think it's a great move and hopefully there's more to come."
Dallas (30-25-5) has the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. The Stars play the Carolina Hurricanes at American Airlines Arena on Saturday (5 p.m. ET; FS-SW, FS-CR, NHL.TV).
The Devils (24-29-8), who play the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; ESPN+, MSG, MSG+, NHL.TV), are last in the Metropolitan Division.
NHL.com Staff Writer Mike G. Morreale and NHL.com correspondent Jeff Miller contributed to this report