Vitaly Vishnevski's Devils' career appears to be over.
Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said today that Vishevski has cleared waivers and that the 28-year-old defenseman will play in Russia in 2008-09.
"He expressed a desire to go back to Russia for personal reasons and I respect that," Lamoriello said. "We didn't want this to develop into a situation September, so we placed him on waivers now and this will allow him to go play there."
Lamoriello made it clear that this is not a situation like the one involving Alexander Radulov, who signed to play in Russia even though he is still under contract with the the Nashville Predators.
The Devils will not be buying out the remaining two years on the three-year, $5.4 million contract Vishnevski signed last summer and will maintain his contract rights in the NHL, but, now that he has cleared waivers, they are free to assign him to a team in Russia rather than put him in Lowell. The Rangers did something similar with Darius Kasparaitis last season.
Regardless of the reason for Vishnevski's departure, it was clear the Devils didn't have him in their plans for the upcoming season. They have seven other defensemen who played for them last season under contract and 2006 first-round pick Matt Corrente is expected to push to make the team in training camp.
Lamoriello said he believed that Vishnevski already has worked an arrangement with a team in Russia, but did not say which one.