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Anton Volchenkov Signs With Devils

Jul 1, 2010 – 4:40 PM
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Bruce Ciskie

Bruce Ciskie %BloggerTitle%

It's been a banner year for defensemen so far in free agency. One of the better defensive-zone presences available on the open market is Ottawa's Anton Volchenkov.

While the top offensive guys -- Sergei Gonchar, Paul Martin, and Dan Hamhuis -- all went, Volchenkov stayed "on the board" until later in the afternoon.

After losing Martin to Atlantic Division rival Pittsburgh, the New Jersey Devils decided to jump on the tough, rugged Volchenkov. Agent Jay Grossman tweeted that the sides were working on a six-year deal worth $25.5 million. Grossman also noted Volchenkov has a no-trade clause.

Volchenkov isn't getting paid to score goals or set them up. The Devils are instead bringing in one of the toughest players in the league. Volchenkov has no reservations about putting his body in front of fast-moving pucks or players. His ability as a shot-blocker makes him stand out, but it shouldn't overshadow his overall defensive abilities. It's not just about shot-blocking, and Volchenkov does a lot of it well.

Throw in Henrik Tallinder, and Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello has done a nice job bolstering his team's defense and recovering from the loss of Martin to the Penguins.

Volchenkov chipped in four goals and 14 points in 64 games for the Senators last year. While his toughness and fearlessness are unquestioned, one has to wonder about his durability. Volchenkov has missed at least 14 games in each of the last three seasons. All that shot-blocking comes with a price, and it's going to be hard for him to earn his big money from the Devils if he can't stay on the ice.

That said, it's a big addition to the Devils, and one they needed desperately.
Filed under: Sports