Nikita Scherbak’s time with the Habs has come to an end after the Kings claimed him off waivers on Sunday.
Montreal’s first-round pick in 2014 has yet to play with the Canadiens this season, spending the better part of the first month of the year as a healthy scratch. He was then sent to Laval on a conditioning stint where he did nothing to help his value and then compounded that by suffering a lower-body injury in his fifth game down there. Since he’s on waivers, it’s apparent that he is now healthy.
Last season, Scherbak was quite dominant in Laval, collecting 30 points in just 26 games. However, he was nowhere near as productive in Montreal, collecting just four goals and two assists in 26 games with them. He’s the type of player that needs to be in a top-six role to thrive but isn’t good enough to put into that situation.
Despite that, the Kings, who had the top waiver priority given their spot in the standings, saw fit to pick him up for free. He’s still on his entry-level deal and will only turn 23 later this month. The fact that he’s on the wire suggests that attempts to trade him went unsuccessful.
While that’s disappointing, it’s not all that surprising either given the situation. If he’s not good enough to play, no one is going to want to give up an asset for him. Unfortunately for Scherbak and the Habs, that’s where they found themselves and now the Russian winger will try to resurrect his career in Los Angeles.