In a not so unexpected move, the New Jersey Devils assigned Brian Rolston to Albany of the AHL and plan to place the winger on re-entry waivers.
General manager Lou Lamoriello said the decision is nothing personal.
"It's part of the system and it's a decision we make," Lamoriello told Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record. "I don't know whether you call it anything other than that - a decision."
New Jersey originally placed Rolston on waivers December 14. He was allowed to play in either 10 games or or remain on the roster for 30 days without clearing waivers again to be sent down. He cleared waivers December 15 and played six games.
Rolston signed a four year, $20.25 million contract with the Devils on July 1, 2008. New Jersey expected to receive a proven 30-goal player who could quarterback the powerplay. Instead, the team received two-plus years of injured and ineffective play. Rolston hasn't come close to 30 goals and hasn't been much of a force on the powerplay in his second stint with New Jersey.
In 21 games this season, Rolston has five points (two goals, three assists) and is -12.
While in Albany, the Devils will still owe Rolston an annual salary of $5,062,500 because he signed his contract as a 35 or older player.
If claimed on re-entry waivers, teams would pay half of Rolston's salary ($2,531,250). The Devils would be responsible for the other half during the life of the contract. Rolston has a year and a half remaining on his contract.
Lamoriello said he's allowing Rolston and his agent, Steve Bartlett, to seek a trade.
"I still believe in Brian. He can still play in the NHL," Lamoriello said to Gulitti. "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."
The Devils' general manager believed it's time to put a young player in Rolston's position.
"This is nothing personal with Brian as far as his demeanor. There's nobody more positive than Brian," Lamoriello told Gulitti. "It's unfortunate it did not work out the way that we hoped that it would through no one's fault. With his playing time and what the results have been, it's time to put a younger player in there."
The Devils recalled Vladimir Zharkov from Albany yesterday. He will likely take Rolston's spot on the roster.