The LA Kings have claimed former Montreal Canadiens forward Nikita Scherbak off waivers, as first reported by TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie. Scherbak, who has five goals and seven points in 29 career NHL games, was selected 26th overall in the 2014 NHL Draft and is on the final year of his entry-level contract. He is eligible to become a restricted free agent after the season and would have to clear waivers if the Kings attempted to assign him to AHL-Ontario.
Scherbak, who is on injured reserve with a lower-body injury but has been cleared to play per Montreal coach Claude Julien, has one goal in five games with AHL-Laval. Via Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette:
Julien was asked if there’s something specific about Scherbak’s game that kept him from cracking the Canadiens roster this season.
“It’s hard to kind of pinpoint one thing,” the coach said. “I think at the end of the day, anybody who saw him in Laval saw that his game just isn’t where it should be right now and we need him to get better.
“At the end of the day, you want him to be a good player,” Julien added. “He had an average camp and that’s everybody’s eyes. We couldn’t put him in our lineup. He went down to Laval and got injured and the few games he played wasn’t quite the Scherbak we know. We have to make decisions, we make decisions based on our situation. Selfishly, you hope that he clears so he can go to Laval and continue to develop because he’s a good young player. If he gets picked up, that happens. It’s the same thing around the league. Guys get put on waivers and get picked up. So at the end of the day, we’re going to see what’s going to happen tomorrow at noon.”
More to come throughout the day.
–Lead photo via Vincent Ethier/Icon Sportswire