As NJ Devils emerge from break, they wonder if Ducks will trade Scott Niedermaye

By Rich Chere/The Star-Ledger

If all goes well, the Devils will get defenseman Paul Martin back in their lineup for a March 10 home game against the Rangers.

Will the Ducks trade or keep defenseman Scott Niedermayer after the Olympics?It will be a significant upgrade for a defense corps that has held together surprisingly well despite the absence of Martin for 52 games because of a fractured left forearm, as well as a disappointing season from Johnny Oduya before he was traded to Atlanta in the Ilya Kovalchuk deal.

Trouble is, very little has gone well with Martin’s prolonged comeback since he was injured back on Oct. 24. Consequently, Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello must decide if the team needs to acquire another veteran defenseman before the March 3 trade deadline.

The Olympic roster freeze ends at midnight Sunday, although GMs have certainly been discussing deals during the break. They will have three days to complete deals before the trade deadline.

Several defensemen have been mentioned as possible targets for Lamoriello, among them Scott Niedermayer of the Ducks. He ranks ninth among NHL defensemen in scoring this season with 37 points (six goals, 31 assists) in 62 games.

But Anaheim is 11th in the Western Conference standings with 67 points, just two points out of a playoff spot. So will the Ducks keep Niedermayer?

“I don’t know what their plans are,” Devils forward Rob Niedermayer said of the Ducks. “I think with the way they’ve been playing lately, they’re right in the mix, so I don’t know. That’s up to their management.

“They’re a pretty talented team. Especially before the break they were playing some pretty good hockey.”

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