As predicted in their recent Trade Deadline Primer, the New Jersey Devils appear to have reached the end of their rope with young forward Sergey Kalinin. TVA’s Renaud Lavoie reports that the Devils have placed Kalinin on waivers today. It’s unknown whether or not GM Ray Shero explored trading the center beforehand, but one way or another, they appear willing to lose him at this point in time.
Kalinin is far from a lock to be claimed on waivers in the next 24 hours, though. After breaking into the KHL at just 19 years old and establishing himself as a consistent two-way player capable of producing decent offensive numbers, many thought that his signing by the Devils was a shrewd move by Shero. When Kalinin contributed 15 points in his rookie year and showed that he could be a dominant physical threat, the future seemed bright for a solid bottom-six role. Yet, just a year later, his development seems to have hit a wall. Kalinin has just four points in 42 games, continues to struggle mightily at the face-off dot, and for some reason has disappeared defensively. The 25-year-old forward has lost the majority of his value since he was an unknown commodity in Russia and now that other teams have gotten a good look at what Kalinin is, they may shy away from taking a chance of their own.
Kalinin will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season, so New Jersey or another team will have some control over his future if they’re interested in retaining him. However, since he is in just his second season in North America, he does not qualify to be exposed in the Expansion Draft, in case any teams hoped to scoop him up and offer him to the Vegas Golden Knights. Without that added bonus, Kalinin seems very likely clear waivers and head to Albany of the AHL by this time tomorrow. If he isn’t able to make up some NHL good will by the end of the season, Kalinin will likely be back in the KHL next year.