Pavel Zacha agrees to terms with KHL team
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The New Jersey Devils open up training camp this week and yet restricted free agent Pavel Zacha still remains without a contract.
In effort to change that, Zacha has agreed to terms with Avangard of the KHL.
I don't doubt Zacha's representatives are in the process of working something out, or have already done so. The key here, though, is the wording. Zacha has agreed to terms. He hasn't signed. At least it doesn't sound like he has. What's the difference? A lot, actually.
If Zacha has signed a document, he is as good as gone. The KHL does not do out clauses for the NHL.
If Zacha has simply agreed to terms, he can back out. Maybe he'll accept whatever the Devils are offering. Maybe the Devils will believe he is seriously considering the KHL and up their offer. The latter is undoubtedly the hope from Zacha's camp. This screams leverage play.
While some will suggest not taking the bait and simply letting Zacha go, I don't think that's a great idea. I'm not at all suggesting GM Ray Shero should be in panic mode and back up the Brinks truck to get Zacha signed. But if the two sides are anywhere close, perhaps chipping in a few extra bucks to close a deal is the smart play.
As disappointing as Zacha has been offensively, he is good defender and one of the league's best penalty killers. He has value, especially on a team with so many penalty prone players (Blake Coleman, Miles Wood, Wayne Simmonds, etc, etc.).
It'll be interesting to see where Shero goes from here. One way or another, Zacha 'agreeing to terms' with a KHL team should certainly accelerate the process of getting a deal lined up for 2019-20.
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