Claude Lemieux Returning to New Jersey?

Scott GollContributor IDecember 30, 2008

Now that I have your attention—no, this headline is not entirely what it appears to be.

In case you haven't heard the news, the San Jose Sharks signed the 43-year-old, who is looking to add a ring to his thumb, to go along with the previous four he's won.

While the Devils went back to their roots during the offseason, signing Bobby Holik and Brian Rolston, it would have been only fitting to seek the services of the aging, but beloved agitator.  But it was not to be.

Still, there is a chance that he may get a chance to skate in front of the New Jersey faithful one last time.  The Sharks are scheduled to visit the Prudential Center on Sunday, February 15.

I think it would be a great story.  If Chris Chelios was able to do what he did at a ripe old age, who's to say Claude, even after five years out of the NHL, can't serve as a veteran influence on the third or fourth line of the league's top team, and give them much-needed leadership heading into the playoffs?

San Jose is a fairly young team, and this is a good signing for them. Currently toiling with the Worcester Sharks of the American Hockey League, Lemieux has six points in 14 games, with a plus-three rating and a health 12 PIM.

Do I think the Devils should have signed him? No. I think the franchise is in a different place, and more veteran, than the Sharks are.  They have their battle-tested vets—Brodeur, White, Madden, Pandolfo, Elias, etc.

Still, I will look on curiously, to see if he-of-the-wicked-grin, has one more ace (or stick jab) up his sleeve.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...