Hedberg wanted a two-year deal for stability as well – for his family. His wife and three daughters lived in Atlanta the last two seasons while he was playing in New Jersey because he was on one-year contracts. Now, that they know he’ll be in one place for two years, they can commit to moving up and putting the kids in new schools.
Hedberg plans to fly back to New Jersey to look for a place for the entire family to live—and schools for his daughters—later this summer.
“The way physically I’ve been feeling and mentally, I definitely feel I can play two more years,” he said. “For me, it was important to get the longer term for the commitment to bring up my family to be together. That’s been the toughest part for me these years. Now, that I know that’s what I’m going to do for two years, we’re all going to move up together, which is going to be great. I’m very excited about that.
“Now, we can start living for real again.”
Hedberg was grateful to Devils GM Lou Lamoriello for giving him that second season.
“If it would have been one year, we would have been in the same boat and I probably wouldn’t have been able to do that and I don’t know what would have happened,” Hedberg said. “So, I’m very happy that Lou made a commitment and gave me the two years. I’m going to do everything that I can to be as prepared as possible to make sure I can be as good as I can be.”
Hedberg also got the full no-trade clause – also part of his previous two one-year, contracts with the team – which gives him further stability.
“When you’re in my position, I think it’s important to have those kind of things,” Hedberg said. “If they would like to get rid of me, at least it wouldn’t come as a surprise. We’d have to agree on something and, hopefully we don’t have to go down that path.”
Although Hedberg ended up fielding offers from other teams, he said he had “pretty positive discussions the whole way” with the Devils. He understood that re-signing Zach Parise and Brodeur were the team’s top priorities.
“I know it’s been a very tough spot for Lou with Zach’s situation and Marty, but he seems to get things done,” Hedberg said. “How he does it, I don’t know, but I hope Zach ends up with us, too. We all would like see him back. We all know what he means to the team. He’s a special player.”
Hedberg said he never got the impression that the team’s financial situation impacted his contract situation.
“The thing is we have probably the most experienced manager in the sport,” Hedberg said. “He’s been through a few situations and he knows how to get things done, so I wasn’t really worried about that. It’s above my head and nothing I really worry about. In Zach’s case, I know that he’s been enjoying his time with the team and you never know what you’re going to get. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. That’s all I can say.
“I know this is a very, very good place to be. I’ve been to a few places and I can say this is a very good one.’
Although this contract takes him until age 41, Hedberg believes he can play beyond that.