Devils sign Rob Niedermayer

The New Jersey Devils have signed free-agent centre Rob Niedermayer.

The New Jersey Devils have signed free-agent centre Rob Niedermayer.

Niedermayer, 35, had 14 goals and seven assists with the Anaheim Ducks last season.

"I felt that we needed a little size and strength down the middle," said Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello.

The Devils add Niedermayer to a centre corps that already includes Travis Zajac and Dainius Zubrus. "I think we have three pretty good size [and] strength centre-ice men," said Lamoriello.

"We know Robbie well, of course. We've played against him enough in the Stanley Cup. He's had tremendous Stanley Cup experience and can be used in different roles."

Playing for the Ducks, Niedermayer won a Stanley Cup in 2007 after losing the 2003 final to the Devils when his older brother and all-star defenceman Scott Niedermayer played for them.

"It's pretty ironic how it turned out, for sure," said Niedermayer. "I spoke with Scott and his family this morning and they were just kind of laughing about it. It is funny how things work out."

"At the time, I didn't know if I'd ever have a chance of getting back to try to win the Stanley Cup," he said. "You get there and you get to Game 7 and to lose like that left a pretty bitter taste in my mouth, I guess. It's tough when you lose and your brother won, so it was pretty bittersweet I'd say."

Niedermayer said a key to his decision to sign with the Devils was the knowledge that they compete for the Cup every season.

"I think I'm at a stage of my career where the Stanley Cup is the main concern and I think New Jersey has a real chance and that was really something that drew me here," he said.

The Cassiar, B.C., native has 171 goals and 257 assists for 428 points in 1,011 games with Florida, Calgary and Anaheim. Niedermayer was the Panthers' first choice, fifth overall, in the 1993 entry draft.

Lamoriello said the signing had nothing to do with Patrick Elias' groin surgery, which will sideline the star two to five weeks. Elias has begun working out, but has yet to skate since undergoing the procedure.

"What it does is give more flexibility and more options," Lamoriello said of Friday's acquisition.

The Devils play their final preseason game on Tuesday.

"It would be nice to feel a little game action before the season starts," Niedermayer said. "It's one thing to practise, but it's another thing to actually get in a game and get hit and hit guys. So, yeah, I'd definitely like to play."