Veteran center Igor Larionov signed a one-year deal with the Stanley Cup Champion New Jersey Devils today, ESPN.com reports. Terms of the deal were not announced.
Larionov had turned down a $1 million offer from the Red Wings earlier this summer.
After Joe Nieuwendyk signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday, the Devils were left weak at the center position. Larionov, the league’s oldest active player, will help fill that gap.
“I decided I want another year so I can have another chance to win the Cup,” Larionov said Wednesday. “This is my last year.”
Larionov said he would have retired at the end of last season had the Red Wings not been swept in the first round by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
Following the departure of Sergei Fedorov to Anaheim, Larionov was the final member of the famed “Russian Five” unit on the Red Wings roster. The line, featuring Larionov, Fedorov, Vyacheslav Kozlov (now with Atlanta), Vladimir Konstantinov, and Viacheslav Fetisov, was the first all-Russian five-man unit to play together in the NHL when they were brought together with the Red Wings during the 1995-1996 season.
The Red Wings were hesitant to sign Larionov, as they believe that Jason Williams or Jiri Hudler might be able to make the jump to the NHL this season and take the fourth-line spot that was Larionov’s.