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NHL roundup: Devils sign Zajac to extension, welcome back Kovalchuk

The SportsXchange

The New Jersey Devils settled some player issues Wednesday as they signed center Travis Zajac to a long-term deal and also welcomed leading scorer Ilya Kovalchuk back to the team.

Zajac signed an eight-year, $46 million extension with the Devils, according multiple media outlets reported. Zajac, 27, missed most of the 2011-12 season with a torn Achilles. He played in 15 regular season contests, when he had two goals and four assists. But he played in 24 postseason games, collecting 14 points and two game-winning goals in the playoffs.

Meanwhile, Kovalchuk returned to the team Wednesday after staying in Russia to play in the KHL All-Star Game on Sunday.

Kovalchuk missed the start of training camp on Sunday after the four-month lockout ended Saturday. He was supposed to be with the Devils, but the team gave him a pass because he wanted to participate in the all-star game, The Star-Ledger reported. His absence didn't violate a 15-year, $100 million contract he signed in 2010.

--- General manager Doug Armstrong signed a five-year contract extension with the St. Louis Blues.

Armstrong was rewarded after the Blues won their first Central Division title since 2000 with 109 points, the second-highest total in the league. He was named the NHL's general manager of the year in 2012.

The extension runs through the 2017-18 season.

---The New York Rangers have placed Wade Redden on waivers, according to ESPNNewYork.com.

Assuming Redden clears waivers Thursday, the Rangers plan to notify him they want to buy out the two remaining years on his six-year, $39 million contract. That would make Redden a free agent.

---The Philadelphia Flyers acquired goaltender Brian Boucher in a trade with Carolina on Sunday, but on Wednesday the Flyers waived Boucher along with defenseman Andrea Lilja.

According to CSNPhilly.com the move gives the Flyers the option to send either player to the Adirondack Phantoms of the AHL. The players need to pass through waivers in order to be assigned to Adirondack.

--- Defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky will return to play for the New York Islanders, although it may be two or three weeks before he joins the NHL team.

Late Tuesday, Visnovsky's agent, Neil Sheehy, confirmed on Twitter that Visnovsky, 36, will return to the Islanders after taking care of some personal situations. According to pluska.sk, the personal issues relate to health of his son.

Newsday reported that it will take about two to three weeks for Visnovsky to resolve his personal issues, at which time he will report to the Islanders.

Visnovsky's request to remain with his hometown team in Slovakia was rejected by the KHL earlier this week.

---NHL veteran defenseman Sean O'Donnell announced his retirement.

O'Donnell, 41, played in 51 regular-season and six playoff games for the Chicago Blackhawks in 2011-12, but teams showed little interest in him after the lockout delayed the start of this season, TSN reported.

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