The Devils made a major move to get under the salary cap Sunday by sending suspended defenseman Vladimir Malakhov and a conditional first-round pick to the Sharks for defenseman Jim Fahey and the rights to left wing Alexander Korolyuk.
The deal will save the Devils $3.6-million on their cap - Malakhov's salary - and it probably won't cost New Jersey much because Korolyuk will play in Russia again this season and Fahey might not make the roster.
With the season scheduled to open this week, Devils president and general manager Lou Lamoriello has been desperate to make some moves to get under the $44-million salary cap.
Lamoriello would not say if the Devils will have to make more moves before they open the season Friday in Carolina against the Stanley Cup champion Hurricanes.
However, he still has to sign right wing Brian Gionta, who scored a team-record 48 goals last season, defenseman Paul Martin and backup goaltender Scott Clemmensen. So there might be another deal in the works.
"We'll take it one thing at a time," Lamoriello said.
The Devils were pushed over the cap this summer when they signed forward Patrik Elias to a seven-year, $42-million contract - which counts $7.5-million against the cap this season - and center Scott Gomez was awarded $5-million by an arbitrator.
The Devils, who also signed Jamie Langenbrunner in the offseason, also owed Malakhov and forward Alexander Mogilny, signed before the 2005-06 season, about a combined $7.1-million this season even though they will not be on the team. Mogilny was sent to the minors, and Malakhov first retired then was suspended by the team.
Lamoriello has petitioned the league to have Mogilny's salary removed from the cap because of a long-term hip injury.
Korolyuk, 30, had 19 goals and 15 assists in 45 games for Vityaz Chekhov in Russia. He last played in the NHL for the Sharks in 2003-04.
"We're getting an exceptional hockey player who could play for us next year," said Lamoriello, who refused to reveal the conditions placed on the first-round pick sent to the Sharks.
Fahey appeared in 21 games for the Sharks last season and had two assists.
"We'll have to take a look at him," Lamoriello said of Fahey.
Malakhov, 38, had four goals and five assists in 29 games with the Devils. He has played in 712 games with the Islanders, Canadiens, Devils, Rangers and Flyers.