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NHL Free Agency 2011 Preview: Devils

The free agency frenzy kicked off at noon Friday, and the New Jersey Devils entered with big holes to fill.

Defense remains the first area of need in New Jersey. The team lacks a true puck-moving defenseman, a need that's been present for the past few seasons. They bolstered the blueline with the big signings of Anton Volchenkov and Henrik Tallinder last year, but still need to fill holes. Their best offensive defenseman, Andy Greene, went unsigned and entered free agency as one of the top-10 defenseman today.

Despite a down season for Greene, where he recorded just 23 points, Devils' general manager Lou Lamoriello remains in talks to re-sign the defenseman.

"We're both kind of in a holding pattern here," Greene's agent, Dan Plante, told Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record Thursday. "We're going to speak again later on tonight or tomorrow. (Lamoriello) made it known that he'd like to keep Andy Around, so, hopefully, we can find some common ground on the whole thing and get something worked out. But, we'll see. There's nothing set in stone, that's for sure."

Even after drafting Adam Larsson fourth overall in last Friday's NHL Entry Draft, Lamoriello still wants to find a puck-moving defenseman.

"We'd still like too, if we can," Lamoriello told Gulitti.

New Jersey also enters today without a backup goalie. Johan Hedberg, who recorded one of his best statistical season last year, remains the best option for that spot. Like Greene, Lamoriello would like to bring him back despite him hitting the free agent market.

After the team opened the checkbook last season, Lamoriello doesn't figure to be a big player in free agency this season.

"I don't think so," he told Gulitti.

Many of the team's decisions are on their own roster. The Devils want to re-sign restricted free agent Zach Parise, and will enter July with an upcoming salary arbitration meeting. They enter free agency with just above $12 million in cap space, so they won't be competing for the likes of Brad Richards.