The New Jersey Devils have placed defenseman Anton Volchenkov on waivers in anticipation of a compliance buyout, reports Tom Gulitti of NorthJersey.com.
A move that’s been rumored for weeks, the Devils finally pulled the trigger on parting ways with Volchenkov on Monday. Instead of finishing the final two years of his six-year, $25.5 million deal with New Jersey, he’ll become a free agent while the team frees up some salary cap space.
By using a compliance buyout on Volchenkov, the Devils free up his $4.25 million cap hit over the next two seasons. The deal doesn’t save the team any money, as he’ll be paid $1.4 million annually through 2018, but does give GM Lou Lamoriello some flexibility as free agency begins on July 1.
Before signing with New Jersey, the Russian native was one of the better defensemen in the league with the Ottawa Senators. The season before he joined the Devils, Volchenkov finished 18th in Norris Trophy voting, which led to the lucrative deal in free agency.
Now an aging veteran who turned 32 in February, Volchenkov has shown signs of decline in recent years. During the 2013-14 season, he averaged less than 17 minutes per game for the second straight year, and injuries have also kept him out for significant periods of time.
The overall production from Volchenkov was never great in New Jersey. After averaging 20-plus minutes of ice time in every season from 2007-10, he’s never reached that marker with the Devils. Now that he’s firmly in the decline phase of his career, it’s not surprising the team would rather spend its valuable cap space elsewhere.