A source told The Record today that potential unrestricted free agent forward Dainius Zubrus has agreed to terms to remain with the Devils on a three-year contract for approximately $3 million per season.
The deal has not been signed yet and it could take a few more days before it’s announced. Zubrus confirmed his agent, Jerrold Colton, has been involved in contract negoatiations with Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello, but denied the deal is completed.
“Nothing is finalized yet,” Zubrus said today from Florida, where he is spending some time with his family. “It’s not a done deal. They have talked and all of that stuff I take it as a very positive in hoping that everything is going to go through.”
What This Means:
The Zubrus signing has a few ups and downs for the Devils over the next three seasons.
Feb 2, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New Jersey Devils wing Dainius Zubrus (8) brings the puck around the net in front of Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) during the first period at Consol Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Dave Miller-USA TODAY Sports
Zubrus is a big body, at 6-foot-5 and 225-pounds, the Lithuanian center gives a Devils team lacking in big bodies something that is needed in this league. The Devils found this out the hard way during the 2012 Stanley Cup Final when the Los Angeles Kings beat up the Devils and won the series.
Zubrus has been a Devil for the past six seasons and has been successful. In 2011-12 Zubrus played in all 82-regular season games amassing 17 goals and 27 assists with a plus/minus of +7.
Zubrus is both a favorite of the fans and in locker room. He is a positive presence and boosts the mood of the players around him.
He is aging, just turning 35 this month, Zubrus is not getting any younger. His age is somewhat of a concern for the Devils who have one of the oldest teams in the NHL. But hey, many elder veterans had great seasons last year.
Moving on. Along with his age, Zubrus is coming off of an injury that sidelined him for most of the 2013 shortened season. He played in just 17 games scoring two goals and seven assists.
Apr 21, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers left wing Taylor Pyatt (14) and New Jersey Devils right wing Dainius Zubrus (8) battle for the puck during the third period at Madison Square Garden. Rangers won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports
The last downside in this deal is the contract. The three million a year paycheck is less than his $3.4 million contract, yes, but still too much money. With the new salary cap, his age, and coming off of an injury should have dropped his salary a little lower.
The deal will not make or break the Devils 2013-14 season by any means, but it brings back a familiar face, who is big, and very influential in the locker room. Although he may have undergone surgery last season and received a generous offer, but he should be productive in the lineup for the Devils and will add much needed depth. Two goals and seven assists in only seventeen games of a shortened season is not terrible for a third-line player. Glad to be able to hear ZUUUUBBBBB for another three years!