Today, New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero made another alteration to his teams roster before the start of training camp. It was announced this afternoon that veteran winger Dainius Zubrus has been placed on unconditional waivers by the New Jersey Devils. This unanticipated move was made today although Ray Shero announced that ” it was not on the teams radar to utilize the buyout window” on Saturday.
The Lithuanian native has played in the National Hockey League since the 1996-1997 season; he began his professional hockey career with the Flyers, and has played for Montreal, Buffalo, and Washington in addition to the Flyers before Zubrus signed a six year contract as a free agent with New Jersey in July of 2007.
Although this was an unexpected move made today by new general manager of the Devils Ray Shero, Dainius Zubrus’s play has deteriorated at a rapid pace over the last few hockey seasons.
This past year, Zubrus only registered ten points in seventy-four games with the Devils. Zubrus recorded forty-two penalty minutes, a minus nine rating, and he was even scratched in games throughout the hockey season. New coach John Hynes and new general manager Ray Shero would like the Devils to play a faster style of hockey. Although Zubrus is considered to be an excellent guy to have around in the locker room, his style of hockey no longer fits into the New Jersey Devils system.
Zubrus, who is scheduled to make 3.1 million dollars this upcoming season, will be bought out of his final season with New Jersey if he is not claimed by another team before noon tomorrow.
However, Zubrus’s contract will not come off the books for the New Jersey Devils until the 2016-2017 hockey season. The team will still be required to pay the winger his salary for this upcoming season.
Although Dainius Zubrus’s time playing in New Jersey has come to a halt, there is a strong chance that the hockey journey-man will be claimed by another team before tomorrows deadline.
Zubrus has had an effective playoff career during his time playing in the National Hockey League. His strong presence on the rink has intimidated hockey players on opposing teams for years. Dainius is still extremely valuable during puck battles along the boards.
This buyout gives the younger forwards in New Jerseys system a better chance of making the team directly out of training camp. Shero felt that this was a necessary move for the organization “to give the roster more flexibility moving forward” as opposed to being a “cap situation”. Ray also stated that he wanted to take advantage of the second buyout period because he is “looking to sign or trade for more forwards”.
Regardless of the fact that training camp is only about a month and a half away, there is plenty of time for Shero and the Devils staff to make additional modifications before the team hits the ice in the month of September.