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Rolston headed for re-entry waivers

Tuesday, 12.28.2010 / 2:38 PM ET / News
By Eric Marin
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Rolston headed for re-entry waivers
Rolston to go on re-entry waivers.
Brian Rolston will be placed on re-entry waivers when he is recalled from Albany (AHL), Devils’ President/CEO/GM Lou Lamoriello announced Tuesday.

While on re-entry waivers, Rolston could be claimed by another club for half of his salary and salary cap hit. The Devils would be responsible for the other half.

“This is a quality, quality person without any question whatsoever,” Lamoriello said. “It’s the unfortunate part of this business. There’s nothing negative in this individual’s body.”

Rolston was assigned to Albany and did not practice with the team Tuesday. If he is not claimed, he could return to New Jersey or be re-assigned to the AHL. Lamoriello did not rule out bringing him back.

Devils head coach Jacques Lemaire had Rolston as a rookie for the Devils’ 1995 Stanley Cup title through 1997-98, then for three 30-plus goal seasons in Minnesota.

“Rollie, he played good for me for years,” Lemaire said. “It’s a team decision right now. The organization has to go a certain way. Lou’s making the decisions on it.”

Lemaire said he coaches the team he’s given.

“I wouldn’t mind if he would’ve stayed,” Lemaire explained. “To go on and try to do something else, I’m OK with that. In other words, I’m coaching the team, the players that I have. I play the hand that I have.”

They were reunited last year, when Rolston scored 20 goals in Lemaire’s return to New Jersey.

“He played on the third line, he played on the power play,” Lemaire said. “Sometimes he didn’t. It depends how he was playing. I thought he played fine (last year). But it’s always the expectation. You expect a lot. You expect more.”

Rolston’s teammates reacted to the news.

“It’s unfortunate,” Martin Brodeur said. “It’s always difficult when you have friends or close friends or teammates that have to go through this, and not just for them but for their families, also."

Change is to be expected when a team struggles. Lemaire replaced John MacLean behind the bench on Dec. 23. The Devils (9-24-2) have dropped five in a row, 10 of their last 11. They host the Rangers on Wednesday night.

"You know when you're not doing well, things will move around because we're a proud organization that's going to try to do the right things to get back on track," said Brodeur, who will make his ninth straight start.

The move creates opportunity for the Devils’ youngsters. Vladimir Zharkov, 22, was recalled from Albany on Monday and practiced Tuesday on the right side of Dainius Zubrus at center and Tim Sestito at left wing.

“The role (Rolston’s) playing right now and the ice time, we want to get a younger player in there,” Lamoriello said.

Said Lamoriello on the possibility of a trade: “We will work with Brian and his representative in every possible way.”

Rolston has two goals, three assists in 21 games this season, for a total of 37 goals, 37 assists over 165 games in his second stint with New Jersey. Drafted 11th overall by the Devils in 1991, he returned as a free agent in 2008.

An ankle injury shelved him for 18 games in 2008-09. After making 80 appearances last season, he needed surgery to repair a sports hernia in October and missed 14 games (Oct. 11 to Nov. 10).

Rolston cleared waivers on Dec. 15.