The New Jersey Devils are parting ways with Dainius Zubrus.
The club made the announcement today, saying that the 37-year-old forward had been placed on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract.
Zubrus was set to make $3.1 million in 2015-16, after which he would become an unrestricted free agent. He had just four goals and six assists in 74 games last season.
The Devils did not say they were buying out Zubrus, only that his contract was being terminated. New Jersey would not have received cap relief anyway if it was a buyout, as Zubrus’ contract was of the 35-plus variety. The team would have saved around a million bucks in actual salary, however.
It’s possible there was a mutual agreement to terminate Zubrus’ contract, a la Damien Brunner in 2014.
Update: It’s a buyout:
The Devils were afforded an additional buyout window as they had two arbitration cases this offseason.
Jay Bouwmeester is hoping that the groin injury that cost him his “Ironman” streak won’t be a recurring thing.
Because not only did the injury, suffered in November, mean Bouwmeester’s streak of 737 straight games was over, it kind of messed up the rest of his season with the Blues.
“I’m a guy that relies on my skating, so yeah, that’s a big part of my game,” he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “It was a whole combination of things, but the bottom line is, I couldn’t do some of the things that I was used to doing. When you’re used to playing a certain way, things come naturally, and when you have to compensate a bit, it can throw some things off. It’s not a good position to be in.”
The 31-year-old defenseman finished with just 13 points in 72 games. He then went pointless in six playoff games, while averaging just 20:28 of ice time.
“So hopefully it’s nothing that keeps coming back,” he said. “I have no reason to think that I won’t be ready for camp or won’t be feeling good.”
Not that anyone expects the Edmonton Oilers to win the Stanley Cup next season. But at the very least, with Connor McDavid, a new coach in Todd McLellan, and a few other tweaks, there’s pressure for them to be much better.
Cam Talbot will shoulder much of that pressure. The 28-year-old goalie that the Oilers got in a trade with the Rangers is expected to battle Ben Scrivens for the starting job next season. Another goalie, Anders Nilsson, is in the mix, too.
“It’s definitely an exciting time for this organization to get a generational player like everyone’s been saying like Connor,” Talbot said, per NHL.com.
“It’s going to be a great opportunity for me here, to be able to come in and work with a good young group of guys and obviously a group that’s headed in the right direction.”
Goaltending was once again a major issue for Edmonton last season, despite the club’s best efforts to fix the problem with Scrivens and Viktor Fasth.
And let’s not forget that Talbot has only started 53 NHL games in his entire career. Though his numbers are impressive in that small sample (.931 save percentage), it’s like Craig MacTavish once said, “I think anyone who tells you they’re sure about the performance of their goaltenders based on a relatively small sample size, is not likely accurate.”
In Talbot’s favor, he’s been able to watch one of the best in the game go about his business.
“Getting to play behind a guy like [Henrik Lundqvist], you learn a lot and you get to see what it takes to be a No. 1 [goalie] in this league,” he said.