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The New Jersey Devils placed winger Brian Rolston(notes) on waivers Tuesday, according to Bob McKenzie of TSN, 29 months after signing him to a four-year, $20 million contract with a no-trade clause (but not a no-movement clause) as a 35-year-old free agent.

From Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice:

If Rolston is unclaimed by another team before noon on Wednesday, which seems llikely, he would be eligible to be assigned to the minors, but his $5.062,500 cap hit would continue to count against their cap because he signed his contract at age 35 or over.

If the Devils were to place Rolston on re-entry waivers, other teams would be able to claim him for half of his salary and the Devils would be responsible for the other half for the remainder of the contract, which expires after the 2011-12 season.

The thinking is that President/GM/Ruler of All He Surveys Lou Lamoriello has something in the works for Rolston upon reentry; despite his age and ineffectiveness (even when healthy), he could be attractive at around $2.5 million per season for the right team with the right needs up front.

As I've said before here, you're fooling yourselves if you think the Ilya Kovalchuk(notes) signing is the catalyst for the New Jersey Devils' salary-cap issues. They're systemic, going back to the end of the lockout. Lamoriello has had a Hall of Fame career as an NHL executive; his ham-fisted approach to cap management is like a minority, dissenting opinion on that legacy in the last five years.

So if Rolston goes, the Devils get some cap relief and a player past his expiration date off the books for the next two seasons (keeping in mind they need all the room they can muster for Zach Parise(notes), an RFA).

Which should solve everything in this turd of a season, right? Next thing you know, Kovalchuk will start outscoring some of those defensemen that are out-pointing him this year ...

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