NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Jason Arnott is back with the New Jersey Devils and very happy about it.
Arnott, who scored the Stanley Cup-clinching goal for the Devils in 2000, was acquired from the Nashville Predators on Saturday in a deal for right wing Matt Halischuk and a second-round draft pick in the 2011.
"Jason Arnott is a player who brings size, strength, and experience to our hockey club," Devils president and general manager Lou Lamoriello said. "There is no question he strengthens our center-ice position."
Arnott, who had 19 goals and 27 assists in 63 games last season, waived a no-trade clause in his contract to make the deal happen. After the season, he had given the Predators' management a list of teams he would approve, with the Devils topping his list.
"I am excited," Arnott said in a conference call. "I have always wanted to come back to Jersey at some point in my career and now it has happened, so I am really looking forward to it."
He has fond memories of his stay.
"I think there was that silver thing we got to lift over our heads, and just winning," said Arnott, who learned a lot from Devils veterans Scott Stevens and Randy McKay after being acquired from Edmonton.
The tutoring paid off when Arnott scored in double overtime against Dallas in Game 6 to win the Cup.
"It was the single greatest moment in my hockey life, and something that I watch the video every single year in the summer time, maybe two or three times," Arnott said. "You know, it always brings a tear to me eye every single time that I watch it. I have always wanted to come back and do it again, especially with New Jersey."
The Devils have not made it past the second round of the playoffs since winning their third Cup in 2003, and they have been eliminated in the first round the past three years.
Arnott believes his experience and size will help the team.
"I just want to help them win again, that is my main goal," said Arnott, who will play for new coach John MacLean this season.
Arnott and McKay were traded by the Devils to Dallas in March 2002 for Joe Nieuwendyk and Jamie Langenbrunner, the Devils current captain.
"I was devastated," Arnott recalled. "I really wanted to stay in New Jersey and play there a while. It was really heartbreaking. It was a great shock for me because I was playing on a great line with an unbelievable team."
Arnott played with the Stars through the 2005-06 season before signing with Nashville as a free agent. He has 383 goals and 490 assists in 1,099 career games over 16 seasons.
Halischuk, 22, had one goal in 20 games with the Devils last season.