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Devils sign five free agents as Brodeur looks at market

(AP) -- While New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur has begun weighing his options by hiring an agent on Friday, two days before the start of the NHL's free-agency period, his team re-signed five players.

Prominent NHL agent Pat Brisson confirmed in a text that he's been hired by Brodeur, the four-time Vezina Trophy winner who has completed the final year of his contract. Though Brodeur has indicated he'd prefer re-signing with the Devils, Brisson wrote, "We will see," when asked if the goalie would consider testing free agency.

Canada's TSN first reported earlier in the day that Brodeur had hired Brisson.

Brodeur had previously represented himself in negotiating contracts.

The 40-year-old Brodeur leads NHL goalies in most every statistical career category, including most regular-season wins (656), regular-season shutouts (119) and playoff shutouts (24).

He's spent his entire 19-year career with the Devils. After a slow start to last season, he played a key role in helping New Jersey's surprise run to the Stanley Cup finals. The Devils eventually lost in six games to Los Angeles.

DATER:Where Brodeur, top NHL free agents will sign

Aside from Brodeur, the Devils also have to try to get a new deal done with captain and top forward Zach Parise. If unsigned, he would immediately become the top forward available in free agency this summer.

New Jersey began the process of at least securing five players, including the entire fourth line -- Steve Bernier, Ryan Carter and Stephen Gionta -- that was put together in time for the playoffs and played a key role in victories over the Panthers, Rangers and Flyers. Also re-signed were forward Cam Janssen and defenseman Peter Harrold.

HACKEL:What each Eastern Conference team seeks in free agency

Bernier returns for a second season with the Devils despite his role in what proved to be the turning point of the sixth and decisive game of the Stanley Cup finals. Midway through the first period, Bernier was ejected and issued a major penalty for boarding after drilling Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi from behind.

Los Angeles capitalized by scoring three times during the 5-minute power play en route to a 6-1 victory.

Gionta, a 28-year-old NHL rookie, was a surprise contributor in the Devils' playoff run, posting three goals and four assists in playing in all 24 postseason games. He's the younger brother of former Devils forward Brian Gionta, who's now with Montreal.

Carter enters his second season with New Jersey after being claimed off waivers from Florida in October. He had four goals and eight points in 72 regular-season games last year, and added five goals, including two winners, and seven points in 23 playoff games.

Janssen had an assist in 48 regular-season games last year. Harrold had two assists in 11 games for the Devils last year.

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