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C David Steckel acquired from Washington

Devils also add 2nd rounder in 2012 in exchange for Jason Arnott

Monday, 02.28.2011 / 3:43 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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C David Steckel acquired from Washington
Steckel ranks among the best in the faceoff circle.
The NHL’s trading deadline arrived at 3 p.m. Monday, and the Devils made their move, acquiring center David Steckel and a second-round pick in 2012 from Washington in exchange for center Jason Arnott.

With Steckel, the Devils got younger up the middle without sacrificing any size and added one of the best faceoff men in the NHL.

"He leads the League in faceoffs and has done so over the last couple of years," said Devils' President/CEO/GM Lou Lamoriello. "We go way back with him; we interviewed him when he was a junior, we certainly knew of him in college (Ohio State). We know of him and what he can bring and what he does bring. We certainly think he has something to offer in all situations and is used in all situations especially when the game is on the line."

Steckel, 28, has five goals and six assists in 57 games this season. In the circle, Steckel is a force: the 6-5 pivot leads the League with a face-off winning percentage of 63.7.

In fact, Steckel has ranked among the top seven on draws in each of his four full NHL seasons. Last year, he was second overall at 59.2 percent. He was fifth (57.9 percent) in 2008-09, and tied for seventh (56.3 percent) in 2007-08.

A former first-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Kings, Steckel signed with the Capitals as a free agent in 2005. He posted a career-high eight goals and 19 points in 2008-09.

The native of Westbend, Wis., has 23 goals and 35 assists in 291 career games, all with Washington.

Arnott, 36, had 13 goals and 11 assists in 62 games with New Jersey. The Devils re-acquired the 2000 Stanley Cup hero from Nashville last June in a trade that sent Matt Halischuk and a second-rounder in 2011 to the Predators.

The veteran of 1,161 games has career marks of 396 goals, 501 assists and 897 points.

"We felt that in order to trade Jason Arnott, we had to bring a player into our lineup that would not miss a beat in what our team can bring, the type of team we have," Lamoriello said. "It had to be a perfect fit because we don't want to lose anything with what has been happening and we also felt that we should get [something for] the future, because at this time it's important to get as much as you possibly can and if we did not get this type of transaction, we would not have made [it]."

Lamoriello made the move with an eye on keeping the Devils on their current surge. They have gone 17-2-2 in their last 21 games to move within nine points of Carolina for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.

"How could you not feel good about what this coaching staff has done with the players and what the players have done with the coaching staff?" Lamoriello said. "Our players have risen to the occasion."

They host Tampa Bay on Wednesday.

"We will continue to do what we have done, [that] is take one day at a time, one game at a time," Lamoriello said. "Certainly, every ultimate goal is to have success, let the end result take care of itself. But this is a player that we talked about. We knew the teams that were interested, and it had to be a price coming back for us to do it.

"We could have gotten futures, we could have gotten prospects, we could have gotten different combinations of draft picks, but it had to be a player that we would have considered to do one-on-one because of age, because of the contract he has, because of what he has left on the contract, what he brings in key situations, and it has to be a fit in the quality of the person and his character. [Steckel] fit all of those categories and then we were also able to get a [draft pick] in it."

Lamoriello continued: "Nothing has changed today with our philosophy and our thought process with where we're at from yesterday or the day before."