Anaheim Ducks forward Rob Niedermayer (44) fights Nashville Predators defenseman Marek Zidlicky (3), of the Czech Republic, for the puck in the second period of an NHL hockey game in Nashville, Tenn., Thursday Jan 17, 2008. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Frederick Breedon)
NEWARK, N.J. - The New Jersey Devils have a Niedermayer again.
Veteran centre Rob Niedermayer, the brother of former Devils defenceman Scott Niedermayer, signed a US$1-million, one-year contract with the team on Friday, adding depth to a squad that lost John Madden to free agency over the summer.
Madden was the centre on the Devils' checking line and Rob Niedermayer is an excellent two-way player.
The 34-year-old Niedermayer is entering his 16th NHL season. He had 14 goals in 79 games with Anaheim last season. He has 171 career goals and 257 assists in 1,011 regular-season games with Florida, Calgary, and Anaheim.
Niedermayer spent five-plus seasons with the Ducks, and was a member of their 2006-07 Stanley Cup championship team along with his brother Scott.
Scott Niedermayer played 12 seasons with the Devils and was a part of three Stanley Cup championship teams. He signed with Anaheim in 2005 in large part to play with his brother.
Scott Niedermayer re-signed with the Ducks this summer. His brother knew he would be heading elsewhere, but didn't expect it would be New Jersey.
"It's pretty ironic how it turned out, for sure," Rob Niedermayer said in a conference call. "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."
The Niedermayers actually squared off in the Stanley Cup final in 2003, when Scott was with the Devils and Rob was playing for the then Mighty Ducks. New Jersey won in seven games.
"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."
Rob 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.
It is expected that Niedermayer will report to the Devils on Monday.
The Devils play their final pre-season game on Tuesday.
"It would be nice to feel a little game action before the season starts," he said. "It's one thing to practice, 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."