The New Jersey Devils have a lot of work to do this summer at getting a full roster signed for next season. It began in earnest Sunday at the draft, when they acquired Cory Schneider from the Canucks.
That wasn't all that GM Lou Lamoriello was up to, however. He was also busy re-signing forward Dainius Zubrus to a three-year extension worth $3.1 million annually. The team hasn't announced the deal, but Zubrus confirmed the contract to Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record.
"I'm very happy," Zubrus told Gulitti. "I didn't want to go anywhere. I came here six years ago because I believe that Lou tries to put a team together to win, and I'm happy. He's going to be doing that as long as he's a Devil. So, I'm happy to stay."
Like the rest of the Devils, 2012-13 was a pretty forgettable season for Zubrus. He played in just 22 games and had only two goals and seven assists to show for it. But the year before, when the Devils reached the Stanley Cup Final, Zubrus had 17 goals and 27 assists. He also had 10 more points in the postseason.
It's worth noting that Zubrus just turned 35 two weeks ago, so this contract will fall under the 35-plus contract rules. If Zubrus were to retire before the end of the contract, it would still count against their cap. However, that shouldn't be much of a concern with Zubrus and a three-year deal.
This is just the first of many more moves that Lamoriello will have to make. They have only nine forwards under contract for next season, and only three are making more than $1 million per season. Those three -- Zubrus, Ilya Kovalchuk and Travis Zajac -- are the only forwards signed beyond next season. In other words, the Devils' work is hardly done.
Gulitti reported the Devils are close to re-signing veteran Patrik Elias as well before he hits free agency, but it does seem relatively certain David Clarkson will be heading to free agency, even if the door isn't completely shut on a return.