In four days, the New Jersey Devils will retire Scott Niedermayer's number 27 jersey, celebrating a player who was among the best offensive defensemen in the team's history.
The organization kicked off the party early, making one of the biggest trades this season. New Jersey acquired defensemen Kurtis Foster and goalie Timo Pielmeier for Rod Pelley and Mark Fraser. Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said Foster should join the team tomorrow, but did not know if he'd play in the game against the Florida Panthers.
Pielmeier, who has played for Elmira of the ECHL, will be assigned to one of the team's minor league affiliates.
Foster tallied two points (1g, 1a) in nine games with the Ducks. He missed five games with a thigh injury, and spent two games with the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL on a conditioning assignment to begin the season. Foster is in the second year of a two-year contract that pays him $1.8 million per season. He was traded from Edmonton, where he signed his contract, to Anaheim for Andy Sutton on July 1.
Lamoriello hoped Foster could improve the Devils power-play. The Devils are tied for 26th in the league with a 12.6 percent conversion rate.
"He's a right shot and he's really a power-play specialist and his shot is what makes him," Lamoriello told Tom Gulitti from The Bergen Record. "Also, he played under Jacques Lemaire in Minnesota and then he had an injury after that. He was in Tampa Bay under (assistant coach) Adam (Oates). We've seen him. We've played against him. And he went through situations in Anaheim where there were power people ahead of him and in Edmonton it was a similar situation (last season). So, he hasn't played that much this year. But we know enough about him. He's 100 percent healthy and we'll give him an opportunity and we'll see what he brings."
Both Pelley and Fraser cleared waivers twice this season. Lamoriello wanted to give them an opportunity to play elsewhere.
"When you have such quality individuals who have given you so much each and every day in the locker room with support, you try to do the best for them," he told Gulitti. "This is a win situation for both of them. (The Ducks) are getting two role players who will be tremendous for them and we're getting a player who has tremendous upside in the role that we see that he'll fit."
Pielmeier adds to the sudden depth of goalies in the Devils organization. The German native was originally drafted in the third round (83rd overall) by the San Jose Sharks in 2007. He was sent to the Ducks on March 4, 2009 along with Nick Bonino and a 2009 conditional draft pick for Travis Moen and Kent Huskins. Pielmeier was 4-5-0 with the Elmira Jackals this season with a 3.45 goals-against average and a .896 save percentage.