DALLAS (AP) - Veteran winger Jamie Langenbrunner is returning to Dallas after the New Jersey Devils traded their captain to the Pacific Division-leading Stars.
Langenbrunner was drafted by Dallas and began his career there. He was part of the Stars' only Stanley Cup championship in 1999, then was traded to New Jersey in 2002 and part of the Devils' championship in 2003.
New Jersey gets a conditional third-round 2011 draft pick in the trade announced Friday. That could become a second-round pick if the Stars win a first-round playoff series or they re-sign Langenbrunner, who can become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
The 35-year-old Langenbrunner was expected to be in North Texas by Friday night, but the Stars said he wouldn't play when they open the second half of their season against the New York Rangers. He was a healthy scratch for last-place New Jersey on Thursday night amid trade rumors.
"He fits the mold of the type of players we want on this roster - strong work ethic, tough, passionate, and hard to play against," said Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk, who was Langenbrunner's teammate in Dallas and New Jersey. "We are thrilled to be able to bring him back to Dallas."
The Stars traded Langenbrunner and Nieuwendyk to New Jersey in March 2002 for Jason Arnott, Randy McKay and a draft pick.
Since owner Tom Hicks is looking for a buyer for the Stars and the NHL is helping run the financially strapped organization, the league had to approve the deal. Hicks Sports Group sold the Texas Rangers last year.
"Lenders and the league realize our situation," Nieuwendyk said. "They know the situation we're facing. They've given us the go-ahead to do what we think is right for the hockey club. "
Dallas last week signed defenseman Trevor Daley to a $19.8 million, six-year contract extension through 2017. Stars top scorer Brad Richards can become a free agent after the season and Nieuwendyk reiterated Friday his desire to re-sign the center.
Nieuwendyk also expressed his hope to keep Langenbrunner past this season, though the immediate impact will be the winger's veteran leadership on the ice and in the locker room.
"We're halfway through the season and I think all of us are really happy where we're at," Nieuwendyk said. "There is a good feeling in the locker room, a belief in the locker room. I think this move will strengthen that belief.
"We're doing everything possible to win hockey games."
Chosen by Dallas in the second round of the 1993 draft, Langenbrunner has 232 goals and 388 assists in 996 career NHL games since 1995. He set a career high with 42 assists last season.
Langenbrunner has been to the playoffs in 13 consecutive NHL seasons, five with the Stars and eight with the Devils. His four playoff overtime goals are tied with Chris Drury for the most among active players.
Last winter, Langenbrunner served as captain for Team USA in the Vancouver Olympics. It was his second time in the Olympics.