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“I can’t wait to get going,” said Kovalchuk, whose original 17-year, $102 million contract was rejected by the NHL because it tried to circumvent the cap. “I know we’re going to have a great year and I’m excited about that.”

The Devils, who were fined and lost a future first round draft pick because of the illegal signing, have added some size. They signed free agent defensemen Anton Volchenkov (6-foot-1, 226 pounds) and Henrik Tallinder (6-3, 214) and acquired Jason Arnott (6-5, 220) in a trade with Nashville.

A member of the Devils‘ Cup winner in 2000, Arnott is centering the No. 2 line with Elias and Langenbrunner on his wings, while the No. 3 line has Dainius Zubrus centering for Rolston and David Clarkson.

Gone from the defense is Paul Martin, who signed as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

However, Volchenkov is a big hitter in the Scott Stevens mold and Tallinder is a solid defender.

“We expect to go all the way every year,” said Parise, who had 38 goals last season. “It’s just the expectations that are placed on us. But we have a new team and it’s the start of something new with new leadership. We have to move on from last year. We have a good atmosphere this year. We all understand that what happened the last few years is unacceptable. We have high standards here and we have not met those standards in a while.”

If the Devils fall short again, there might be a lot more changes next season.