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Analysis: Rolston signing shows money talks, politics walks

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Forget Criss Angel. Lou Lamoriello is the real Mindfreak.

New Jersey’s GM was up to his usual magic as the sun began to dawn on the NHL’s first day of unrestricted free agency – and the rabbit that emerged from his hat came in the form of former Wild center (and former-turned-second-time-around Devil) Brian Rolston.

After scoring 31 goals and 59 points for Minnesota in the 2007-08 campaign, Rolston was one of the more coveted two-way pivots available via unrestricted free agency; as such, Lamoriello was forced to give the 35-year-old a four-year, $20 million contract.

As someone who watched the Jason Blake debacle in Toronto this season, I’m surprised any GM would offer a 35-year-old a four-year deal. But the Devils were desperate to keep pace in a very competitive Atlantic Division, and Rolston definitely will help in that regard.

Oh, and by the way, can we now do away with the fearmongering you tend to hear when listening to some discuss the dangers of sending down a veteran NHLer to the American League for cap relief?

I mean, when the topic has been broached in Toronto lately, there are many who would say such a demotion is a bush-league move that would scare away potential future free agents from signing with a franchise that operated so heartlessly.

In case you forgot, Lamoriello already has banished not one, not two, not three, but four significant players – including Alexander Mogilny and Dan McGillis – to the AHL since the lockout.

Guess what? The Devils still are able to sign guys.

That’s because the NHL’s Mindfreak understands the key to a good magic trick is finding someone willing to buy into the act. If (a) they’ve been a part of the show before, the way Rolston has, and (b) witnessed the act’s success over and over again, the way all of us have when watching the Devils…well, it’s almost too easy of a sell.


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