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Golden opportunity ahead for Pavel Zacha

September 14, 2022, 3:27 PM ET [18 Comments]
Anthony Travalgia
Boston Bruins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Over the summer Brad Marchand had a procedure done on each of his two hips, surgery that will sideline him until around the start of December.

There’s no easy fix to a Marchand-less start to the season, production that is hard to replicate. The Bruins will try their best in hopes of finding that offensive production until Marchand is reunited with Patrice Bergeron.

"It is going to be an adjustment. The two of us, (Marchand and Bergeron) it's second nature at this point. You just read and react from one another,” said Bergeron. “I think we know where each other is going to be on the ice at pretty much all times. It does make things easier.”

Filling Marchand’s void on the Bruins top line is an important task in the early days of the Jim Montgomery era. Montgomery knows how important a second line of Taylor Hall, David Krejci and David Pastrnak will be to the team’s success throughout the season; it sounds like he’s not willing to tinker with that.

That means newly acquired Pavel Zacha should get the first chance to play to the left of Bergeron and Jake DeBrusk.

“I think he’s a great player, excited to get to know him on and off the ice. Young guy that I think has got a lot of potential and can become a great player in this league,” Bergeron said.

In a combined 120 games over the past two seasons, Zacha has 30 goals, 17 of those coming during the 2020-21 season, a career high.

“He’s a great player, he’s a very smart player, something that I knew even before he came in,” Bergeron added. “He plays the game the right way, he’s always well positioned, he’s got a great shot and even from talking to him, he wants to become more of a shoot-first mentality maybe than what he’s had in the past.”

A restricted free agent at the time of his trade to Boston, Zacha signed a one-year deal with the Bruins, one that allows him to test unrestricted free agency upon the conclusion of the upcoming hockey season.

A prove yourself type of deal if you will.

For Zacha, opportunity will be there for the taking. Whether it’s as Marchand’s replacement to start, or on an expected third line with Charlie Coyle and Craig Smith, Zacha will have his chance to shine, the Bruins expect him to.

“We’ve worked out together down in Foxboro the last couple years, so I got to meet him there. I knew playing against him how skilled he was. He’s always been a good player,” said Coyle. “I feel like every time he played against us, he scored, so it’s nice to have guys like that on your team and not working against you.”

Drafted sixth overall in 2015, Zacha is at a point in his career where what he does this season very much could dictate what direction his career takes from here.

Out of New Jersey and now in Boston, he’s found himself in a situation that should allow him to flourish, especially with all the opportunities he’ll get to find success playing alongside Bergeron.

"I've been here for a couple weeks now so we've had some one-on-one talks. Just being around him, seeing his work ethic, seeing his thinking around the game is great,” Zacha said of Bergeron. "A player like that, what he's done already, and still having the motivation he has, it's impressive. I think it just pushes everyone around him to work a little bit harder. That's something that good players do."

As rookie camp begins Wednesday, captain’s practices are well underway with official camp set to begin next week.

A lot of eyes will be on Zacha as he adapts to his new role. With and without Marchand, the Bruins will need Zacha to take advantage of the opportunity ahead of him.
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