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Devils Niedermayer Wins $7 Million Deal

August 13, 2004

TORONTO (AP) _ Defenseman Scott Niedermayer of the New Jersey Devils was awarded a record-tying $7 million contract for next season by an NHL arbitrator Friday.

The award matches the $7 million given to Philadelphia Flyers forward John LeClair in 2000.

Niedermayer, last season’s Norris Trophy winner as the NHL’s best defenseman, had requested a five-year contract reportedly worth $45 million.

Niedermayer had 14 goals and 40 assists, and averaged nearly 26 minutes of ice time per game last year.

Last month, with Niedermayer’s future still in question, the Devils signed free-agent defenseman Richard Matvichuk to a four-year, $7.2-million contract.

Niedermayer, 30, has spent his entire 12-year career with New Jersey, which won Stanley Cups in 1995, 2000 and 2003.

On Thursday, the Devils avoided salary arbitration with defenseman Brian Rafalski by signing him to a one-year contract worth $3.1 million.

Also Friday, the Devils signed eight free agents, including center Pascal Rheaume and goaltenders Scott Clemmensen and Ari Ahonen. The others were: defensemen Bobby Allen, Ray Schultz, and Steven Spencer, and forwards Brett Clouthier and Ryan Murphy.

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