With the struggles the New Jersey Devils have had thus far this season, many people have been waiting for the " other shoe to drop."
While people have been creating the rumors of head coach John MacLean being fired, GM Lou Lamoriello made his first significant move today, placing LW Brian Rolston on waivers.
While this move may actually amount to nothing (more on this in a bit), it does send a statement to the team that there are changes in the works, even if things don't turn around immediately.
With a team that is struggling the way the Devils have been, in the salary cap world, you can't necessarily get rid of too many guys. Doing this to a player like Rolston circumvents the no-trade clause that Rolston has as part of his contract.
By being placed on waivers and not traded, Rolston has no say on where he may end up.
Before getting too excited about Rolston's imminent "departure," people should understand this is more of a procedural move than anything else.
Since Rolston signed a contract past the age of 35, his contract will count against the Devils salary cap even if he retires or is sent to the minors. Because of his high $5.025 million salary cap, it is not expected any team will take on that salary for this year AND next season.
However, assuming Rolston clears waivers and is demoted on paper (the Devils have 30 days or 10 games played to assign Rolston to the minors), the Devils can recall Rolston, which would make him subject to re-entry waivers.
Similar to what the New York Rangers did a few years ago with Sean Avery (and the Dallas Stars), any team would be able to claim Rolston and only have to pay him 50 percent of his salary, along with 50 percent of the salary cap hit that goes with it.
In this case, the other team would be forced to pay Rolston a prorated share of $2.5 million this year and a full $2.5 million next year, but take on a prorated salary cap hit of $2.53125 million to their salary cap this year and $2.53125 million next season.
If Rolston were to retire or be sent to the minors, his salary would not be removed from the salary cap of the team that claims Rolston.
The logic is to assume that GM Lou Lamoriello might have some kind of deal worked out with another team to claim Rolston and give the Devils $2.53125 million in salary cap relief.
Whether or not it would be part of a bigger purge, remains to be seen.
There could easily be more trades in the works, or even other players being put on waivers is not out of the question.
In the end, you can probably expect Rolston to be in the lineup for the Devils on Wednesday night against Phoenix, but this is definitely something to keep an eye on in the coming days for the Devils.
The Devils will return D Anssi Salmela to the lineup on Wednesday. Salmela returns from a torn ACL in his knee and will give the Devils a little more offensive ability from the back line.
His strong shot can be an asset, but Salmela definitely isn't completely reliable on the defensive end either and has been exposed at times.
It will be interesting to see how he fits in with the team this season.
Also, it is Devils Toys for Tots Night on Friday against Nashville, so be sure to bring your unwrapped toys for the underprivileged children in the area if you are attending the game.
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