Defenseman Bryce Salvador, a key cog in New Jersey’s run to the Stanley Cup Final, re-signed with the Devils on Tuesday.
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Salvador, 36, who had four goals and 14 points in the postseason after a regular season in which he failed to find the net once, received a three-year deal, worth $9.5 million.
Teamed up with Marek Zidlicky, a midseason acquisition from Minnesota, Salvador found his groove in the playoffs, as the Devils defeated the Panthers, Flyers and Rangers en route to their first Eastern Conference title since 2003. He finished second behind Los Angeles’ Drew Doughty in postseason scoring among defensemen.
New Jersey, a No. 6 seed that went 14-10 in a surprising postseason run, has re-signed several components to the puzzle this week. In net, they brought back Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg. They also locked up the entire fourth line — a makeshift group put together at season’s end that found spring success and featured Ryan Carter, Steve Bernier and Stephen Gionta — as well as defenseman Peter Harrold, who was in and out of the lineup during the Devils’ four playoff series.
Left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky, a midseason acquisition from Carolina who scored an overtime winner vs. Philadelphia in Round 2, signed with Winnipeg, and forward Petr Sykora, in his second term as a Devil, remains unsigned.
Salvador played all 82 regular-season games for the Devils last season, a year after missing the entire season with a rare, inner-ear concussion. He is the very essence of a stay-at-home, defensive, defenseman, who was a plus-18 with nine assists in the regular season, and took a lighthearted approach to his scoring success in the playoffs.
In fact, his first goal of the postseason was an empty-netter which traveled the length of the ice in a 4-1 victory over the Flyers in Philadelphia. When asked about having an offensive touch back in his game for the first time in a long time during the playoffs, he responded in kind.
”You mean since I was 10,” Salvador said at the time. ”I just think it is everyone buying into the system and good things are happening for everyone.”