One lesser-known, but well-documented trend the New Jersey Devils were known for during the Lou Lamoriello era was his tendency to reacquire players that were previously with the organization. From members of the infamous A-Line to individuals that have become household names among Devils fans, a multitude of players had second stints with the organization.
A lot of players Lamoriello reacquired possessed a few notable overlapping aspects—they were in the twilight of their careers, typically in their mid-late-30s, and their second stints mostly lasted no longer than a season, if they weren’t brought in as mid-year rentals. For the most part, players Lamoriello reacquired weren’t as effective like they were during their first bout in New Jersey (see Steve Sullivan, Brian Rolston, Bobby Holik), but there were a select few whose returns wound up having positive impacts.
Among the array of players who found themselves back with the New Jersey Devils, these five had the best second stints.
The four-time Stanley Cup winner was initially acquired by the New Jersey Devils in 1990 for winger (and former second overall pick) Sylvain Turgeon. In addition to his agitative antics, Claude Lemieux is largely remembered by Devils fans for his Conn Smythe Award-winning playoff performance in 1995, during which the organization captured their first Stanley Cup championship. Lemieux was shipped off to the New York Islanders prior to starting the 1995-1996 season for forward Steve Thomas, who then dealt him to the Colorado Avalanche.
Four years later, Lemieux was reacquired by New Jersey from Colorado a few weeks into the 1999-00 season in exchange for forward Brian Rolston and a few other conditional pieces. Despite being in his mid-30s, Lemieux had a respectable year, collecting 20 goals and 47 points in 83 contests (17 goals and 38 points in 70 games with New Jersey). He finished seventh in scoring among New Jersey Devils players that season, and was one of five forwards on the roster to hit the 20-goal threshold.
Although he won a second Stanley Cup with the Devils, Lemieux wasn’t as impactful in the postseason like he was in 1995, only netting four goals and 10 points in 23 playoff contests. Lemieux’s second stint with the Devils spanned for one season, after which he signed with the Phoenix Coyotes.