The Canadiens have placed winger Nikita Scherbak on waivers, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports (Twitter link). Sportsnet’s Eric Engels adds (via Twitter) that Montreal had unsuccessfully tried to trade him before going this route.
The 22-year-old made the team out of training camp but didn’t see any action before being sent to the minors on a conditioning stint at the end of October. He got into five games with AHL Laval and struggled, picking up just a single goal in that span. Scherbak also suffered a lower-body injury in the minors and was placed on injured reserve following his recall. The fact he’s on waivers suggests he’s cleared to return.
Scherbak was a first-round pick of the Canadiens back in 2014 (26th overall) but has yet to have much success at the NHL level. He played in 26 games with Montreal last season, recording just six points while spending a lot of time in a bottom six role. As an offensive-oriented player, he’s someone who is best served playing in the top six but he hasn’t had that opportunity on a regular basis just yet.
Given the offensive potential he has shown at the minor league level, his age, and the fact he’s on a cheap contract (he’s in the final year of his entry-level pact with a cap hit of $863K), there’s a good chance that he will be claimed, similar to what happened on Friday with winger Valentin Zykov joining the Oilers. If he passes through unclaimed, he’ll be sent back to Laval.