It appears as though Nikita Scherbak’s stay in North America could be over. The free agent forward has signed with HC Banska Bystrica in Slovakia for the upcoming season after spending the last year with the Texas Stars of the AHL.
Scherbak, 25, reached 196 games played in the AHL last season, and when added with his experience in the NHL and KHL, is now classified as a veteran for the minor league. AHL teams must dress at least 13 “development players” in each game, 12 of which must have played in 260 or fewer professional games (the other must be fewer than 320). In the release from his new team, it is explained that Scherbak’s status–no longer a development player–made it more difficult for him to find a job in North America, though he did try.
It’s a rapid fall for a player who was in the NHL as recently as the 2018-19 season, though Scherbak has never lived up to the promise that made him the 26th overall pick in 2014. He played 39 games with the Montreal Canadiens, the team that selected him, before being claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Kings in late 2018. Eight more games for the Kings that season would be his last chance at the highest level, as the Kings failed to issue Scherbak a qualifying offer that offseason and he ended up signing in the KHL.
After one more kick at the can with Texas, where he scored 15 points in 28 games, the still relatively young forward is on his way back to Europe.