The LA Kings have placed Nikia Scherbak on waivers and the Arizona Coyotes should consider making a claim for him.
The Arizona Coyotes are in need of some extra forward depth with the number of injuries the team has suffered in recent months.
Scherbak, meanwhile, has had an up-and-down start to his NHL career, never truly being able to solidify his position in the league.
Since being selected in the first round (26th overall) of the 2014 entry draft, Scherbak has managed just 37 regular season appearances in the NHL, with the Montreal Canadiens and the Kings.
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In those games, Scherbak managed just eight points – six goals and two assists.
These do not sound like stellar production from a former first-round draft pick, but Arizona could be the perfect place for him to land if he truly hopes to make it in the league.
Montreal and LA both have intense media markets and being a first-round selection in the NHL usually comes with plenty of attention – something that won’t be as much of a problem out in the desert.
Arizona is a young team overall, currently ranked sixth-youngest in the NHL, and that trend is likely to continue in 2019/20 when players such as Barrett Hayton, Pierre-Olivier Joseph and Nate Schnarr look to stake a claim on the roster.
Scherbak would provide the Coyotes with a young talent that has some experience in the NHL and has shown some true potential that he could make the jump up to the majors, having earned 30 points (seven goals, 23 assists) in just 26 games with the Laval Rocket in the AHL last season alone.
The Kings claimed Scherbak off waivers earlier this season, themselves seeing something in the young Russian – a good indication that he still has a future in the big leagues.
The Coyotes do not have an abundance of options at forward, but Scherbak could be the ideal extra forward to carry on the team – allowing him time to adjust to his new surroundings before attempting to push his way into the line-up.
Scherbak has also had some solid possession stats in the eight games he played with the Kings, with a 56.2% Corsi rating while starting in the offensive zone 57.1% of the time.
His low cap hit, currently just $863,333, is also something that makes placing a claim essentially risk-free for a team needing to make some sort of move.
General manager John Chayka has a keen eye for young talent and Scherbak could very realistically be looked at as having enough potential to take a gamble on.
If the Arizona Coyotes believe Scherbak can offer them something in the long-term, then placing a waiver claim on the 23-year-old winger is a no-brainer.
What do you think Coyotes fans? Would Scherbak be worth the risk? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!