In reacquiring center Jason Arnott(notes) from the NashvillePredators today, GM Lou Lamoriello could have four players from the New JerseyDevils' 2000 Stanley Cup championship team on the ice for Opening Night of the2010 season.
Lou's the embodiment of "go with what you know," and he knewArnott from 1998-2002 as a big-bodied offensive force that once led theheralded A-Line, the NHL's most productive trio during itsrun.
Halischuk had 22 points in 32 games in the AHL last seasonand 29 in 47 during the 2008-09 season, his first year as a pro. You may recallhim as the guy who scored the game-winner in overtime of the gold medal game inthe 2008 World Junior tournament; and if you do, chances are you also haveCanadian citizenship.
Arnott was limited to 63 games last season due to a "head injury," scoring 46 points. In the previous season, he had 33 goals in 65games. OnThe Forecheck has some kind words for him, as a Preds fan.
But his contract actually makes Arnott ashrewd pick-up in that regard: If there's one area where the Devils have somestrong prospects, it's at center with a player like 2009 first-rounder JacobJosefson in the pipeline.
At the same time, Arnott fits the win-now mode for a team whoseall-world goalie isn't getting any younger.
According to Cap Geek, the Devils have $45.6 million inpayroll, which gives them $11.4 million in cap space. They only have fourdefensemen under contract, and that doesn't include UFA Paul Martin(notes).
They onlyhave 11 forwards under contract, and that doesn't include this Kovalchuk fellowthat scores a goal here and there -- and Ilya Kovalchuk(notes) is going to eat up a good portion ofthat cap space if he's re-signed.
Does this trade mean the Devils are off either player? SaidLamoriello to Fire & Ice:
"It doesn't affect that," he said. "We haven't won in thelast couple of years, so there will be changes and it has to make the team better."
As a Devils fan, this is more than a nostalgic kick. It's akick in the pants for a team that left the playoffs with a whimper. Arnott wasa leader on the Devils, and he was a leader in Nashville. He fills a need inthe lineup as a center, and a reunion with Elias could produce some magic; but he also helps fill the character void in the locker room.Price was fairly high, but it could pay off.
Though maybe not like this again:
Now when do the Devils stitch up that No. 27 jersey forScott Niedermayer ...