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Newz Forum: HOCKEY: Devils sign veteran defenseman Matvichuk

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posted on Jul, 12 2004 @ 05:45 PM
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- The New Jersey Devils bolstered their defense Monday by signing unrestricted free-agent defenseman Richard Matvichuk, who comes to the Meadowlands after 12 seasons with the Dallas Stars.

Terms of the deal were not released.

The signing provides the Devils some insurance in case 22-year veteran Scott Stevens, who sustained a season-ending concussion in January, does not return. Defensemen Scott Niedermayer and Brian Rafalski also could leave as restricted free agents.

"He brings size, he brings experience and he's also been part of a winning organization," said Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello. "I just like the way he competes each and every night."

The 31-year-old Matvichuk had 21 points and 36 penalty minutes in 75 games last season with Dallas. The 6-2, 215-pounder earned $2.2 million last season.

"Our defense still was one of the best in the National Hockey League last year, but we had an opportunity here to make ourselves even better," Lamoriello said.

He said the team is still not certain when or even if Stevens will be able to return. He said the 40-year-old Stevens continues to work out and "he feels good," but said the Devils did not sign Matvichuk thinking Stevens' career is finished.

"I don't want to think in those terms, but we also know that Scott Stevens will retire at some time," Lamoriello said. "Hopefully it is not in the near future."

Lamoriello also said the team is not sure whether coach Pat Burns will return this fall following surgery for colon cancer.

"He has had the operation and is resting comfortably," he said. "Right now, we're looking at him recovering and getting better. His health will be the criteria for any decision."

posted on Jul, 12 2004 @ 05:49 PM
Matvichuk is a solid defender who doesnt bring alot of offensive skills but is definitely solid in his own end. His +/- is always good because he plays such good defense. It will be strange not seeing him in a Stars uniform, now that he'll be wearing a Devil uniform I'm gonna have to hate him.

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