The Devils weren't Anton Volchenkov's first choice.
The hard-hitting defenseman, signed as an unrestricted free agent July 1, would have preferred to stay with the Ottawa Senators.
"I would have liked to stay in Ottawa. My next choice was to find a good place for me," Volchenkov said today as he visited the Prudential Center.
So why didn't he re-sign with the Senators?
"They made me an offer, not good enough," Volchenkov said. "That's why I didn't sign with Ottawa."
Struggling just a bit with his English, he said he had offers from a couple of different teams.
The Devils targeted Volchenkov even before they lost Paul Martin to the Penguins. They like his hard-hitting style.
General manager Lou Lamoriello said Volchenkov gives the Devils something they've lacked since Scott Stevens ended his playing career.
"Scott Stevens is a legend. He was hard to play against," Volchenkov said. "I try to play hard every game."
So why the Devils, other than their six-year, $25.5 million contract offer?
"This is a really good defensive team," he said. "They always play in the playoffs. They always play hard. They're a very exciting team.
"I talked to my wife. This is not too far from friends. I spent eight years in Ottawa. I have lots of friends there. This is tough, but it's part of the business. I don't like changing teams, but it's hockey."
He said he hopes Ilya Kovalchuk signs with the Devils, but hasn't tried to influence the left winger.
"It's (been) interesting. I'd be happy if he signed here," Volchenkov said. "He's a good player. It's not my decision. It's a decision for him."
The blond-haired defenseman sported some chin hair. He said he is in New Jersey to meet some Devils players, find a house and a school for his son.
"I just came in last night," he said. "It was a long, delayed flight from Ottawa. I was tired."