|A New Beginning in Dallas for a Returning Hero|
|January 7, 2011 by Sean Hartnett – JL15.com contributor|
|News officially broke early Friday morning that New Jersey Devils' captain Jamie Langenbrunner has been traded back to his original club, the Dallas Stars. The Stars' website confirmed soon after that a conditional 2011 3rd round draft pick was sent in exchange for the 35-year old right winger. If Dallas re-sign Jamie after July 1, 2011 or advance in the playoffs, the pick given to the Devils will become a 2nd round draft choice.
Langenbrunner spoke of his excitement in rejoining the Stars to JL15.com, "I would like to thank my fans in Dallas for all the support and kind messages. Since, being traded from Dallas I have been amazed at the overwhelming support and messages I still receive to this day. I am very excited to find my role with the team and help us get to where we all want and expect to be."
Jamie will be returning to the team where he broke into the NHL as 19-year old in 1994 after being drafted 35th overall in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft. In his first full season in Dallas, Jamie finished as a finalist for the Calder Trophy in 1997. A year later, he was named to the 1998 United States Olympic Hockey team and represented America in the Nagano games.
The 1998 summer signing of free agent sniper Brett Hull gave Dallas the needed firepower to make a run at the Stanley Cup after coming close to reaching the finals in previous seasons. General Manager Bob Gainey had built the Stars into one of the Western Conference powers and once the 1999 playoffs got underway, the team was a force to be reckoned with. Langenbrunner raised his game to a new level and scored many memorable postseason goals including 3 game-winners. Jamie's strong play was key in Dallas winning their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. He finished the playoffs 5th in overall points and tied for 2nd behind close friend and Conn Smythe winner Joe Nieuwendyk in goals scored.
The following season, the Stars' again dominated the Western Confernce on the way to a second consecutive finals' berth. This time though the New Jersey Devils stood in their way and Dallas was eliminated in six games. On March 19, 2002, Jamie reversed roles by joining the team that defeated the Stars' in the 2000 final. He and Nieuwendyk were sent to the Devils in a deal for Jason Arnott, Randy McKay and a 1st round pick. Langenbrunner quickly became a firm favorite in "The Garden State" just as he was a hero to fans in "The Lone Star State."
Jamie enjoyed the best postseason of his career during the 2003 where he shared the lead in playoff points with 18 and game-winning goals with 4. His late-game heroics were vital in each round as New Jersey claimed their 3rd Stanley Cup in 9 seasons. December 5th, 2007, Langenbrunner was elected captain of the Devils' and proudly performed the role until today's trade. While with New Jersey, Jamie became known as one of the best examples of leadership in the NHL and inspired the Devils towards winning multiple divisional titles. Langenbrunner was so revered around the league that he was named captain of the 2010 United States Olympic Hockey team helping inspire the Americans to an unexpected and unforgettable tournament run, claming silver in a trilling final against the Canadians.
Jamie cherished his 8 years in New Jersey and he wanted to make sure the Devils' organization and their incredible fans knew how appreciative he is for everything they had done for him and his family. "I would first like to thank all my fans who have supported me through my time here in New Jersey. This organization's success over the past ten years would be envied by most in the NHL community and all the fans played an important role in that success. Thank you for making New Jersey both a wonderful place to play and a wonderful place for my family to call home. I look forward to hearing from you all in the future," he told JL15.com.
Langenbrunner continued, "I also would like to personally thank Lou Lamoriello, Mr. Vanderbeek, and every member of the Devils organization from the front office to all my teammates over the years to my friends in the training and equipment staff for running an organization built on loyalty, trust and hard work. These are qualities that I have always admired and have helped define who I am today."
Lamoriello returned praise in Jamie's direction and thanked him for his service to the Devils, "When it's a quality person who has given you what Jamie has given, been part of success, a Stanley Cup, then certainly it is difficult. But if it were easy, anybody could do some of these things we have to do. Unfortunately, the decision with the status that we're in is being made for the right reasons."
He will bring such qualities to the Dallas locker room as he will be counted on as a veteran presence to perform in playoff battles and "show the ropes" to his new youthful Stars' teammates. Club General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk spoke of his delight in reacquiring Jamie this morning, "We are very excited to add Jamie to our team. He fits the mold of the type of players we want on this roster – strong work ethic, tough, passionate, and hard to play against. All of our fans got to see first-hand what kind of a player Jamie is when he broke into the league in the nineties and was part of our Stanley Cup team in 1999. We are thrilled to be able to bring him back to Dallas."
It's now Jamie's mission to help lead the Stars playoff glory as he did in the first chapter of his career. In many ways it's a new beginning for Langenbrunner who is undoubtedly looking forward to the challenge ahead, "I'm excited to come back to Dallas. I have a lot of great memories of playing in that organization, that city. I'm excited about where the team is headed and ready to come be a part of it."
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