Montreal Canadiens place Nikita Scherbak on waivers

The Montreal Canadiens have added another chapter to their roster crunch placing Nikita Scherbak on waivers Saturday afternoon.

This may be a risky move for the Montreal Canadiens. The team announced that 2014 first-round pick Nikita Scherbak is on waivers and now available for the entire league.

Scherbak has yet to play a game for the Habs this season after a promising second half last year. He spent some time in the AHL with the Laval Rocket scoring a goal in five games but had it cut short after suffering a lower-body injury. The 24-year-old returned from the conditioning stint and has been skating with the team without a clear path of what the next move will be.

And now we have it. Although Scherbak’s development has taken a snag, there’s absolutely no way he isn’t claimed. There is a lot of skill and power behind his game, and he’s still young enough to put it all together and become an effective piece on an NHL roster.

The overwhelming narrative now is the decision. The Montreal Canadiens have shown that they value what the fourth line has brought, in particular, Nicolas Deslauriers, over the potential of Scherbak. You can make the point that Marc Bergevin hopes for the young forward to return to Laval and see big minutes there, but the risk of losing him is high.

It’ll be interesting to see how the rest of this plays out for the team. Paul Byron is expected to return to the lineup since sitting out with a lower-body injury, and another piece of the rationale could be the lack of room on the wing.

Perhaps Scherbak is in the same boat as Jacob de La Rose; a player management hoped would pan out but lacked the right attitude or mindset to remain part of the organization. Then again, Scherbak and JDLR are different players. The Montreal Canadiens hoped the latter could bring more offence to his game while the former has it already.