In anticipation of the Saturday’s deadline for the NHL and NHLPA to reach an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement or risk a second lockout in eight seasons – the New Jersey Devils placed seven players on waivers Friday.
If the waived players go unclaimed before noon on Saturday, they will become eligible to play for New Jersey’s AHL affiliate in Albany during a now unavoidable NHL lockout.
Among those on the list were goalie Jeff Frazee, defenseman Jay Leach and forwards Bobby Butler, Tim Sestito, Matt Anderson, Chad Wiseman and Steve Zalewski.
Placing those players on waivers is just a formality. Any player must be assigned to their respective AHL teams before the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement or risk not being able to play in the AHL during an NHL work stoppage.
If the league does indeed move forward as promised and locks its players out by Saturday afternoon, fans in AHL cities may be the only ones cheering.
Besides the seven players I mentioned earlier, the ‘baby’ Devils may also add Calder Finalist Adam Henrique, Adam Larsson, Mattias Tedenby and Jacob Josefson. This suddenly makes the Albany Devils a competent and competitive hockey club. All of these young rising stars played in the NHL at some point last season making them waiver exempt.
Lucky them – nothing says you’ve made it like spending another season playing minor league hockey.
Devils President and GM Lou Lamoriello made it very clear he wants as many of New Jersey’s prospects playing during the lockout as possible. Lamoriello said any decisions on which personnel will play in the AHL during the lockout will be made no later than Saturday afternoon.
“We’ll get everybody we possibly can to play as much as they can right now within the framework of the rules,” Lamoriello said. “We’re devoting a lot of our time to scouting right now as far as our prospects and drafted players.”
AHL training camps open in less than two weeks and it looks like the more the merrier for the Devils.
I have to admit these types of reports are hard to write. It just validates all of our worst fears – The lockout is going to happen and it starts today.
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