TSN’s Bob McKenzie broke the news shortly after midday that Brian Rolston of the New Jersey Devils has been placed on waivers. The 37-year old left-winger has struggled mightily this season posting only four points in 15 games for New Jersey.
Devils’ general manager Lou Lamoriello might have felt the team was in need of a shakeup after dropping seven games in its last 10 outings. New Jersey is looking to break out of a season-long funk as they’ve begun the year with a 8-19-2 record and slumped to 13th place in the Eastern Conference. Lamoriello might be doing this as he understands there is little risk of losing Rolston in an attempt send a strong message to his under-performing roster.
Still, his $5 million contract could be picked up by any NHL franchise. New Jersey would then only stand to free up $2.5 million in cap space for this season and the next after if Rolston is claimed by another club and still would owe the veteran half of his contract. In the likelihood that Rolston clears waivers, $100,000 is all the Devils will get in cap relief if he is sent to AHL affiliate Albany.
Lamoriello could keep the 16-year professional in the purgatory of minor-league hockey for a short period to convey to his lackluster squad that some of team’s stars are in danger of either being traded or facing a similar indignity by behind sent to the AHL. Clearly, the Devils need all of their NHL talent whether it be experienced veterans or raw youngsters to perform at a higher level if there is any hope of reaching a playoff spot. Currently, New Jersey sits 18 points behind the Tampa Bay Lightning, who occupy the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.
Devils fans hope that their team gets this message loud and clear as serious improvements must be made on the ice. The franchise was expected to be strong contenders for a playoff spot, especially after the off-season re-signing of Ilya Kovlachuk. A long list of injuries has been a big factor in New Jersey’s poor position but overall the players haven’t produced the goods.
This will either be the spark needed to get the team back on track, or a sign of moves to come from Lamoriello if New Jersey continues their struggles.