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s8 Russian Sniper Alexander Mogilny Coming to New Jersey (WB)


EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ: The Devils, coming off a mediocre season, improved their team today by signing right wing Alexander Mogilny. It has been no secret that New Jersey management has been after the Russian winger for several seasons.                                                 

The speedy Mogilny, who defected to the United States from the Soviet Union in 1989, played for 5 VHL teams during his career including the 3 last season (Islanders, Bruins and Kings). He was considered by many to be the prized Free agent this off season and the Devils went hard after him.    

''He's a proven goal scorer and he gives us a dimension of explosiveness,'' the Devils' general manager, Vince Villa, said of the 28-year-old Mogilny, whose best season was 1994-95, when he scored 38 goals in 84 games with the Washington Capitals.

When Mogilny joined Boston in 1996-97, he immediately had chemistry with Dale Hawerchuk which made his quick departure to Los Angeles quite surprising. In 18 games with the Kings last season, Mogilny scored only 3 goals with 6 assists. Many thought getting traded multiple times last season finally caught up with the youngster. He had a disappointing post season with LA scoring only 2 assists in 6 games along with a -2 rating.

Devils offered Mogilny security, for the next 4 years, which he had been seeking as well as a top dollar salary. Mogilny was vacationing in Europe when he accepted the New Jersey offer and released the following statement.

“I am extremely happy to become a New Jersey Devil. I know last season was not my best but I feel that the Devils really wanted me and that meant a lot to me. I appreciate the other offers but after speaking with Coach (Brian) Sutter, I liked his approach on how he wants us to play this season. I look forward to playing with some very talented forwards and bringing long term post season success back to this organization. I can’t wait to get to training camp and build chemistry with my teammates. I feel comfortable with the contract length and now can fully concentrate on playing hockey.” ''He's the type of player who can complement others,'' Villa said.

''He's the type of player who we can use. We need to get more explosive and Alexander gives us that dimension.''

GM Vince Villa indicated while signing Mogilny was a priority, the team is not done restructuring the roster. Fans should expect a different looking team from last season. While the Devils made the playoffs, they were not expected to make a long run.

''Last season was a long and painful one and we don't want to go through that again,'' said the GM.


WC : 508