Devils expected to place Brian Rolston on re-entry waivers this week with hopes of cap relief


No one in their right mind would agree that Brian Rolston is worth more than $5 million at this point in his career. Probably not even Rolston or his agent Steve Bartlett, if you gave them some of that “Kill Bill: Volume 2” truth serum.

Yet the proposition of adding the hard-shooting forward becomes at least digestible when you cut his salary (and cap hit) in half to about $2.53 million. Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice passes along word from New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello that the team assigned Rolston to the Albany Devils in the AHL and will be placed on re-entry waivers, possibly as early as Wednesday at noon.

If someone decides to claim Rolston on re-entry waivers – which Lamoriello and the Devils hope – then the Devils will be responsible for half of the winger’s salary (and cap hit) for the remainder of this season and next, when it expires. Who knows how much interest there is for Rolston, even at half price, but there is precedent for these things to happen. The New York Rangers claimed Sean Avery off of re-entry waivers when the Dallas Stars decided they couldn’t deal with his antics anymore.

One of the many differences between Avery and Rolston is that it’s matter of business, rather than anything personal between the player and team.

“There’s nothing that he has done to warrant any type of not wanting him,” Lamoriello said. “This is a business situation. This is part of the hockey business. It’s not personal or anything about his character. We’re talking about a quality individual.”

Lamoriello said that Rolston and his agent, Steve Barltett, have been given permission to talk to other teams about a trade.

“He’s done everything asked of him,” Lamoriello said. “I still believe in Brian. He can still play in the NHL. It just hasn’t worked out. He’s not the only one that it hasn’t worked out with to this point. It’s unfortunate but we find ourselves in a position and you have to make certain decisions.”

Lamoriello does not anticipate placing any other players on the team on re-entry waivers.

We’ll let you know what happens, whether a team decides to relieve some of the Devils’ cap headaches or not.

Niemi blanks Pens, notches two assists in Stars debut

Antti Niemi, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist

DALLAS (AP) — Antti Niemi recorded his 33rd career shutout and assisted on two goals in his Dallas debut, as the Stars beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 on Thursday night in the season opener for both.

Ales Hemsky had a power-play goal and an assist.

Rookie Matthias Janmark scored on his first shot on his first shift in an NHL game to make it 1-0. The Stars acquired Niemi and Janmark in trades earlier this year.

Dallas scored on two of five power plays. Jamie Benn, the NHL’s leading scorer last season, had a power-play goal in the third period.

Niemi made 37 saves to improve his career record against the Penguins to 5-1-1. He withstood a flurry in the final minute after Pittsburgh pulled goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for an extra skater.

Fleury had 21 saves.

The Stars are 4-0-1 in their last five home games against Pittsburgh, and have won three in a row overall.

Janmark skated down the slot, took a pass from Hemsky and shot between Fleury’s legs at 1:39 of the first.

The Penguins dominated the latter half of the period, but couldn’t score. Niemi’s best stop was a reaching glove save of Rod Scuderi’s drive from the blue line with less than 3 minutes remaining. Pittsburgh outshot the Stars 10-4 in the first.

Hemsky scored at 5:42 of the second on Dallas’ first power play. His shot from the top of the right faceoff circle went in over Fleury’s right shoulder.

The Penguins again had an advantage in shots, 13-11. Pittsburgh had chances in close, but Niemi turned those away. Midway through the second, John Klingberg cleared away a loose puck from in front of the net.

Seven seconds into the Stars’ fourth power play of the third period, Jamie Benn tipped in Jason Spezza‘s shot from the right point.

NOTES: Dallas acquired Janmark as part of a March trade that sent Erik Cole to Detroit. The rookie had been playing in the Swedish Hockey League. . San Jose traded Niemi’s rights to the Stars in June for a seventh-round draft pick. Also making their Dallas debuts were LW Patrick Sharp and D Johnny Oduya, teammates with Chicago’s Stanley Cup champions last season. . In his first game for the Penguins, Phil Kessel played in his 447th straight game. . Pittsburgh was 0 for 3 on the power play.

Fabbri’s first spoils McDavid’s debut as Blues down Oilers

Robby Fabbri, Justin Schultz
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Rookie Robby Fabbri scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the third period to help the St. Louis Blues beat Edmonton 3-1 Thursday night, spoiling Oilers rookie Connor McDavid‘s NHL debut.

Vladimir Tarasenko had the tying goal for the Blues near the midpoint of the second period, and Troy Brouwer added an empty-netter with 18 seconds remaining in the third. Brian Elliott finished with 23 saves.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored in the first period for Edmonton and Cam Talbot had 28 saves.

McDavid, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, took 22 shifts, played 18:07 and was on the ice for Brouwer’s goal. He had two shots on goal, and struggled on faceoffs – winning only three of 13.

Fabbri, a 19-year-old forward — and McDavid’s childhood friend — was also playing in his first NHL game. The Blues’ first-round pick in 2014 was one of three rookies in the St. Louis lineup, joining defensemen Colton Parayko and Joel Edmundson.

Nugent-Hopkins gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead late in the first period with a fluke power-play goal. He lost a face-off but when Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo tried to clear the puck it bounced off Alexander Steen and past Brian Elliott. Nugent-Hopkins was credited with the unassisted power-play goal with 2:38 remaining in the period.

Tarasenko tied it a 9:10 of the second after getting loose on a breakaway with a stretch pass from Alex Pietrangelo and beating Talbot through his legs.

Tarasenko, who signed an eight-year, $60 million extension in the offseason, was the last Blues player to score in his debut.

NOTES: McDavid and F Anton Slepyshev made their NHL debuts for the Oilers. … St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina dropped the ceremonial first puck. … The attendance was announced as standing room-only 19,327.