AP NEWS

Devils sign Penguins free-agent Ben Lovejoy

July 1, 2016

The Devils entered the first day of free agency with approximately $27.6 million in salary cap space. Of course, they only had nine NHL players signed.

General manager Ray Shero quickly added two more to the mix on Friday.

Ex-Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy agreed to a three-year deal with an annual salary cap figure of $2.67 million. And ex-Stars forward Vern Fiddler agreed to a one-year, $1.25 million deal.

Fiddler, 36, had 12 goals and 10 assists last season and will help the bottom-six depth among the forwards.

Lovejoy stands to play major minutes for the Devils after winning the Stanley Cup with the Penguins, especially after Adam Larsson, 23, was dealt to the Oilers two days ago for top-line left wing Taylor Hall.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Lovejoy, 32, a right-handed shot like Larsson, had four goals and six assists in 66 regular-season games last season, then added two goals and four assists in the Penguins’ Cup run.

He adds a physical presence to the blue-line with a hard point shot.

Shero obviously knows Lovejoy well from their time together in Pittsburgh, though Shero did trade Lovejoy to the Ducks five seasons ago.

While the Devils added these two players, they did lose defenseman David Schlemko, 29, who signed a four-year deal worth $2.1 million annually to the Sharks.