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The New Jersey Devils Must Use the Amnesty Buyout on Anton Volchenkov

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COMMENTARY | The NHL introduced an amnesty buyout clause in the new collective bargaining agreement which was drawn up before the start of this year's shortened season. The amnesty buyout allows a team to get rid of a player by paying the individual two-thirds of their remaining contract without any salary cap penalties.The New Jersey Devils must use the amnesty buyout on defenseman Anton Volchenkov who is currently owed $4,250,000 for each of the next three seasons. Here are two main reasons why.

1. Volchenkov's play has declined. Honestly, it is as simple as that. The rugged defenseman has racked up a lot of nagging injuries throughout his career because of his style of play. As a result, he has trouble against speedier teams. It is only natural to assume that his play will continue to slip as he gets older.

2. The Devils have a log jam on defense. In addition to Volchenkov, New Jersey has Mark Fayne, Andy Greene, Adam Larsson, Henrik Tallinder and Bryce Salvador under contract for next season. This list does not include free agents Peter Harrold and Marek Zidlicky who may be brought back, as well. The Devils also have NHL-ready prospects in Eric Gelinas and Alexander Urbom champing at the bit to crack the lineup. Volchenkov is arguably the worst defenseman out of the group, yet makes the highest salary.

Quite simply, the Devils have better options than Volchenkov on defense. At this point, he should not be taking away playing time from youngsters like Fayne and Larsson. In addition, the Devils should look to promote either Gelinas or Urbom in an effort to get younger. In the end, the notion of using the amnesty buyout on Volchenkov is because a) his play has declined, b) there are better options on the team and c) he is an unmovable asset considering his contract is so bad.

Michael Pellegrini has followed the New Jersey Devils since the mid to late 1990s when they had players like Doug Gilmour and Dave Andreychuk in the later stages of their career.

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