With the NHL free agent window hours away, the New Jersey Devils will use their final compliance buyout on defenseman Anton Volchenkov. The team put the 32-year-old on waivers Monday afternoon ending his time with the club prematurely.
The Devils will pay the Moscow native the remaining two years and $8.5 million of his $25.5 million six-year 2010 contract. The team had attempted to trade the fearless blue-liner but were unable to find a suitor.
With free agency starting at noon tomorrow, it’s not surprising that a GM wouldn’t give up assets in exchange for a player they can sign at a heavy discount on July 1.
The man nicknamed Volchie played 56 games in 2013-14 due to injury and coaching decisions while also being left off the roster for Russia’s Olympic squad. Volchenkov finished the season with 8 points and was a +3. His departure was somewhat predictable with his all the healthy scratches as his contract clearly became a burden and his play showing signs of wear.
All the shot blocking may have finally taken a toll on his body and perhaps slowed him down too much for the teams liking. Volchenkov can easily still hang in the NHL at a lower pay rate and has the good fortunate of being a citizen of Russia where the KHL will throw substantial money at their own.
His departure concludes a Russian exodus leaving the Devils with no Russian born players a few years removed when the team had the leagues most.
Below is Volchenkov’s most memorable goal with New Jersey which came courtesy of an assist by former teammate Ilya Kovalchuk at the expensive of their fellow countrymen, Sergei Bobrovsky.