The Nikita Scherbak era in Los Angeles was, ultimately, short lived. After being waived by the Montreal Canadiens and claimed by the Kings on December 2, the Russian winger was excited about a chance to start fresh with a new team.
Over the past month, however, Scherbak had precious little time to show how he can contribute at the NHL level. He played in eight games, recording one goal and 17 shots, with an average time on ice of 10:11. He frequently found himself as a healthy scratch, or, if he did appear in games, the first person to be stapled to the bench. He played just 3:39 against the Winnipeg Jets, for example.
While there was the possibility that Montreal would re-claim Scherbak and assign him to their AHL team, it appears as if they’ve fully moved on from him. And having had little opportunities to give clubs a chance to see what he can do, Scherbak went unclaimed by the rest of the league, as well.
His claim by the Kings came at a time when they were hurting for players to put on the ice due to injuries, and with the return (or imminent return) of nearly all the injured forwards, save for Jonny Brodzinski, Scherbak was the most expendable option.
In Ontario, he’ll join a Kings staff that is used to working with players who aren’t exactly thrilled to be there. Mike Stothers and company have been able to help other disappointed players turn their games back around. Scherbak will have the opportunity to step in immediately to a high-level role on the Ontario Reign, who have seen many of their best players graduate, often by necessity, to the NHL.
The Ontario Reign next play on January 9, on the road against the San Jose Barracuda. That game kicks off a nearly two-week road trip for the Reign, who return to Ontario on January 21.