Dainius Zubrus may have played his final game in the NHL.
New Jersey Devils GM Ray Shero announced Wednesday afternoon that the club has placed Zubrus on unconditional waivers with the intention to terminate his contract. Zubrus, who has spent the past eight seasons with the Devils, signed a three-year, $9.3 million contract extension with New Jersey in July 2013.
However, after a dismal four-goal, 10-point season in 2014-15, the Devils are ready to part ways with the veteran winger. His down year, which was the worst of his career, came one season following a 13-goal, 26-point campaign, but at his age and with the miles on his career, it wouldn’t be shocking were Zubrus to retire or pursue options overseas. This past season, he saw his ice time in New Jersey slip by nearly three minutes per game.
The 37-year-old Zubrus was the second-oldest player on the Devils roster, behind only 39-year-old Patrik Elias. The move to clear out Zubrus could be one that helps turn over an aging Devils roster. This past season, New Jersey iced the oldest roster by nearly two full years, according the NHLNumbers.
Zubrus’ most productive years are long behind him. His career best marks came while he was a member of the Capitals, where he played alongside Alex Ovechkin during Ovechkin’s rookie season. In his two seasons with Washington – he was traded at the deadline in 2006-07 – Zubrus scored 43 goals and 109 points in 131 games.
Zubrus was drafted in the first round of the 1996 draft, selected 15th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers. Over his 18-year NHL career, Zubrus has spent time with the Flyers, Montreal Canadiens, Washington Capitals and Devils. Over the course of his 1,243-game career, he has scored 225 goals and 584 points. Zubrus isn’t the only Lithuanian-born NHL player in league history – Darius Kasparaitis was born in the same city as Zubrus – but he is the only one to represent the country as a Lithuanian national. However, he has represented Russia in international competition before, such as at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.
Zubrus will officially clear waivers Thursday at 12 p.m. ET, at which time the Devils can buyout his contract. Zubrus will become an unrestricted free agent.