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Devils give Brodeur his due

Goalie wanted 2 years, club finally gives him 2 years

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Martin Brodeur has spent 19 seasons with the New Jersey Devils and his primary demand in his negotiations with general manager Lou Lamoriello was that he wanted two more.

"At the end, the Devils were able to come through with an extra year," Brodeur said. "To me, that was the most important thing in the deal."

Once Lamoriello switched from a one- to a two-year offer, Brodeur, 40, immediately agreed to the terms. He will earn $9 million over those two seasons and the Devils are able to avert to the public relations pain of watching the highest-profile player in franchise history wear another jersey.

"This is what I wanted all along," Brodeur said. "Circumstances sometimes happen that you can't control ... but I'm really happy. Two years seems appropriate for me to be able to leave the game at that time. But I'm not 100 per cent sure. We will see how I feel."

Brodeur said he had prepared in his mind for that possibility that he might have to go elsewhere if he wanted a two-year deal.

"The Devils weren't ready for a while to do that," Brodeur said. "When they were able to get it done, it was a pretty easy decision for me to make."

The Devils also signed Johan Hedberg, 39, to a two-year deal worth $2.8 million, meaning the franchise retains the goaltending tandem that reached the Stanley Cup Final.

Brodeur said he would have accepted the Devils' one-year offer had he not had two-year offers in the marketplace.

"But with the interest I had, every team was at a two-year deal," Brodeur said.

The Devils' ownership is looking to add an investor to the group, and money seems to be an issue while that is being worked out.

"For them to stick to their guns at a one-year deal, I guess you could say that was one of the issues they had," Brodeur said. "Maybe that was one of the reasons why they tried to get me to sign a one-year deal as long as they could. But I don't know that for sure."

Even though their goaltenders will be back, the Devils could be a different team next season because captain Zach Parise is listening to offers from many teams, particularly the Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins and Minnesota Wild. Brodeur said he would make another plea for Parise to stay.

The Devils also could be in danger of losing defenceman Bryce Salvador, one of their primary contributors during the playoffs. With few defencemen available in the marketplace, his popularity could rise once Ryan Suter and Matt Carle sign. Jason Garrison signed with the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.

Alexei Ponikarovsky, who played with the Devils in the post-season, has already signed with the Winnipeg Jets.

Lamoriello has re-signed fourth liners Stephen Gionta, Steve Bernier and Ryan Carter, plus defenceman Peter Harrold.

-- USA Today

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 3, 2012 C2

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