In one of the more unsurprising moves in the lead up to free agency, the New Jersey Devils decided to use their final compliance buyout on the final two years of Defenseman Anton Volchenkov‘s contract. Volchenkov signed a 6 year / $4.25 million contract that included a $2 million signing bonus. The payout will take place over the next four years, in which the Devils will pay Volchenkov $1.4 million each season. Over his 222 games with the Devils, he totaled three goals and 29 assists.
Devils to use compliance buyout on defenseman Anton Volchenkov: The Devils have decided to use their second an… http://t.co/nAN7Tfl3au
— Tom Gulitti (@TGfireandice) June 30, 2014
Volchenkov was never considered an offensive threat, instead he made his presence known on the ice with heavy hits. With the increased focus on player safety, Volchenkov style of play became a liability to the Devils. He was suspended in 2013 for four games for this high hit onBrad Marchand:
His physical style of play also caused him to become a high injury risk. Volchenkov turned 32 during the 2013-14 season and has seen sub-17 minute ATOI numbers for the last two seasons. While hits stats are not always the most accurate in the NHL, Volchenkov was credited with 129 hits in 2013-14, his second highest since signing with the Devils.
With the $4.25 million off the cap, the Devils now have a little over $14 million to spend on free agents when the signing period begins tomorrow. The Devils are likely to use their newly acquired cap room to get some talent up front, as the team’s offense was mediocre at best in 2013-14.
If he is not claimed off waivers, Volchenkov will become a free agent and will be eligible to find a job with another team. However, with him on the back end of his career and the declining stats, I don’t see too many teams reaching out. Then again, Brian Burke has been stocking up on some sand paper in Calgary. Another possibility is that Volchenkov will decide to go play in the KHL. During the 2012 lockout, he played for the KHL’s Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod.