In an obvious attempt to clear up roster space, the New Jersey Devils placed forward Brian O'Neill on unconditional waivers. O'Neill, who was acquired for a conditional 7th-round pick from Los Angeles in the off season, with the condition being New Jersey provides a 7th-round pick if he is resigned by the team.
With the imminent return of Travis Zajac, who was placed on IR, retroactive December 3rd, the team will soon be in need of roster space. In addition to Zajac, the Devils expect Tuomo Ruutu to return to action since being sidelined by a left foot injury from blocking a shot against San Jose. Both players will be featured prominently in the line-up with Zajac likely returning to center Kyle Palmieri and Ruutu to fill out a bottom-six role.
O'Neill, 27, was acquired from Los Angeles following an AHL season in which he won the MVP with their AHL club, the Manchester Monarchs. In hope that he could replicate some success at the NHL level, the move was made to fill out the Devils' scoring depth and provide a spark to a player who did not have the opportunity to crack the Kings' crowded roster.
While the hopes were high, O'Neill only managed 2 assists in 22 games in his time with New Jersey, being a healthy scratch multiple times. While playing mostly a fourth-line role with the team, the organization had hoped he would produce at a higher clip and potentially score more goals in his first NHL season. While the results the team hoped for didn't happen, if O'Neill is to clear waivers he would provide an obvious boost to the Albany Devils both from a production standpoint and from a production standpoint.
How do you like the move? Did the team give up too soon on O'Neill? Did he show promise at the NHL level that may make him a valuable commodity on the waiver wire? How does the return of Zajac and Ruutu make the team better? Thanks for your thoughts and thank you for reading!