Scott Niedermayer joins Anaheim
The NHL's free-agent shuffle continued Thursday when defenceman Scott Niedermayer signed with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.
The 31-year-old unrestricted free agent inked a four-year contract worth $27 million US.
"I just felt I wanted to have new challenges in life," Niedermayer said. "Do different things, try different things."
Niedermayer, who won the Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defenceman in 2003-04, captured a trio of Stanley Cups in 12 seasons with the New Jersey Devils.
The smooth-skating rearguard has totalled 112 goals and 476 with a plus-172 rating in 892 NHL games since being drafted third overall by the Devils in 1991.
"I've been in New Jersey for a long time - a lot of memories - and to make a decision like this is difficult to do," he said.
"We have tremendous respect for him," Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said. "We did have a conversation last night when he told me of his decision and I'm sure you can all imagine it was a difficult conversation for all parties.
"I've known him since he was 18 and we've shared a lot of highs together. We respect his decision."
Niedermayer reportedly rejected a more lucrative offer from the Devils, but wanted to team up in the NHL with younger brother Rob, who re-signed with Anaheim for four years and $8 million US.
"Since I was 16 and he was 15, we've been apart," Scott explained. "But now we can be together again.
"I was probably the happiest guy around," added Rob.
"Scott Niedermayer is one of the top defencemen in the game today whose skating, puck-moving ability and leadership qualities make him a great addition to our team," Mighty Ducks general manager Brian Burke stated. "Rob has already proven his worth to the organization with his physical style of play, speed and versatility."
"I can say to Mr. and Mrs. Niedermayer, 'You no longer have to pick a team when you're cheering for your sons,"' Burke joked.
Niedermayer was courted by several clubs, reportedly the Calgary Flames, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins and Vancouver Canucks.
He is one of the most mobile defencemen in the NHL, possessing an exceptional blend of vision and recuperative ability.
Niedermayer, who resides in Cranbrook, B.C., helped Team Canada win the gold medal at the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Winter Games and the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.
In other NHL movement Thursday:
with files from CP Online