Pair of familiar faces fills Devils' wishlist
Rolston boosts PP attack; Holik brings checking savvy to PK
Tuesday, 07.01.2008 / 8:02 PM / News
By Eric Marin
Holik, a two-time Stanley Cup champion, returns for a second tour with the Devils.
newjerseydevils.com – Some seven hours after the NHL's free agency period had officially gotten underway Tuesday, Devils' President, CEO and General Manager Lou Lamoriello addressed his team's needs by signing two familiar faces.
Having locked up David Clarkson, Jay Pandolfo, Bryce Salvador and Barry Tallackson earlier in the day, Lamoriello pulled the trigger on the deals that brought Bobby Holik and Brian Rolston back to New Jersey.
|Rolston, seen here in 1999, has developed into a coveted power-play point man.|
The additions of Holik and Rolston are expected to bolster the Devils' efforts on special teams. Eleven of Rolston's 31 goals with Minnesota in 2007-08 came on the man advantage, and Holik, a veteran checking specialist, will bring his 6-4, 230-lb. frame to New Jersey's penalty kill.
"[Rolston] gives us a dimension that we don't have," Lamoriello said. "He's a forward that can play the point on the power play, can quarterback it, and he's been doing that in recent years. He's used in all situations, whether it's in a shutdown mode or an offensive mode. He's one of the top forwards in the game today."
Said Lamoriello of Holik: "He brings size and strength and we all know how difficult he is to play against. The most important thing is, both of them are excited to be here."
Both players were members of the Devils' first Stanley Cup title in 1995. Holik captured a second Cup with New Jersey in 2000, while Rolston moved on to Colorado that same season.
Holik, a 17-year veteran, hasn't donned the red and black since departing via free agency in 2002. Rolston went from Colorado to Boston before landing with the Wild. Both sounded focused on helping the Devils contend in 2008-09.
"New Jersey became one of the teams that I had the most interest in," said Holik, who spent the last three seasons in Atlanta. "There are no guarantees, but obviously I'm familiar with the organization and the way things are done there, and I've always liked that. At this point in my career I want to be on a team where I can contribute and play some good, competitive hockey."
Rolston, who has scored 30 or more goals in each of the last three seasons, was said to be courted by as many as 17 clubs on Tuesday. Minnesota shipped his exclusive negotiating rights to Tampa Bay on Sunday in exchange for a conditional draft pick, but Rolston elected to test the open market.
Entering his 14th NHL season, Rolston said he made the right choice given a tough decision.
"I'm just excited that I got [back to New Jersey] and everything worked out the way we wanted it to," he said. "I'm very fortunate with where I am in my career to have a choice like I had today to play with organization that I know is second to none in the National Hockey League."