Somewhere in the shuffle of Zach Parise and Martin Brodeur, there were other unrestricted free agents from the New Jersey Devils Stanley Cup final roster that went seemingly unnoticed.
Or perhaps they were noticed, and the casual passerby was simply too caught up in the Parise saga to realize the work that Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello did.
In the days leading up to Parise not re-signing with the Devils and moving on to Minnesota, the Devils inked three key players to deals that will keep those players in New Jersey for some time.
Defensemen Bryce Salvador, arguably the biggest surprise throughout the entire league during the playoffs, signed a deal with the Devils for 3 years, worth reportedly $9.5 million. After his incredible playoff production that witnessed him record 14 points on 4 goals and 10 assists -- finishing third on the team in playoff points behind Ilya Kovalchuk and Parise -- reports say Salvador received impressive offers from about six other teams, but his intention was to remain with the Devils.
Wait, haven't we heard that before?
"Lou and I have a great relationship, and before free agency started I told him I'd always come back to him before I decided to do anything and see where the team was at," Salvador said, according to the Bergen County Record.
A day before Salvador resigned, the Devils also agreed to two separate 2-year deals with Brodeur and back-up goalie John Hedberg, both of whom also desired to remain in New Jersey.
Brodeur did test free-agency waters, warranting high interest from a number of teams, but several sources indicated that his intention was always to stay in New Jersey.
Brodeur, the winningest goalie in the history of the NHL, eventually agreed to a 2-year/$9-million contract on July 2. Heberg also resigned on July 2, agreeing to a 2-year deal with $1.4 million.
"It made it a lot easier when I saw they signed Marty and Hedberg back," Salvador told the paper. "Those are really important pieces that just made my decision that much easier."
Hedberg, who was voted as the 'players' player' at the end of the season, was living away from his wife and kids over the past two years, as they remained in Atlanta while he played in New Jersey. With his new contract, he will have the stability to move his family to New Jersey and live with them.
Hedberg proved to be as good of a back-up goalie as there can be, and his good relationship with Brodeur certainly helped him in staying a Devil.
"There were a few other teams that called, and, obviously, New Jersey was my number one choice," he said. "Lou knew exactly what I wanted and when they did that, he showed a commitment to me, and I wanted to show a commitment to him, too."
With Parise leaving for the Wild, many speculate that the Devils financial issues, lack of a strong fan-base, and frankly a lack of quality life played a part in it. With comments from some of the leagues most-respected veterans, it's hard to argue that playing for a team with their resume isn't all that it's talk up to me.
After all, they did say their intentions were to stay in New Jersey.