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New Jersey Devils sign Pavel Zacha to three-year extension

September 10, 2019, 12:53 PM ET [23 Comments]
Todd Cordell
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The New Jersey Devils have taken care of their last bit of off-season housekeeping, signing Pavel Zacha to a three-year extension worth $2.25 million per season.

Zacha didn't have much leverage in negotiations as a 22-year-old RFA without arbitration rights. That's why it's hardly a surprise it took such a long time to work out a deal, and why it's hardly a surprise his camp used a KHL threat to try and push things over the finish line.

With regards to the contract itself, I think it's pretty fair for both parties.

Though Zacha is a very inconsistent offensive producer, there are a few stretches per season where he looks the part of a high 1st round pick. Too uncommon, I know, but in the mean time he's a capable defender at 5v5 and one of the league's best while shorthanded. Perhaps *the* best.

Since Zacha entered the NHL, 157 forwards have logged at least 200 minutes ice in 4v5 situations. Zacha ranks 1st in expected goals against/60, 1st in scoring chances against/60, and 7th in goals against/60. His penalty killing alone makes him valuable, especially given the roster makeup (lots of penalty prone players).

On the flip side, it doesn't make sense for the Devils to make a significant investment in Zacha given the lack of offensive efficiency. He's essentially a PK specialist, and until he develops into anything more the Devils have to be cautious about what they give him.

This deal makes sense in that Zacha isn't playing for pennies (relatively speaking), but he'll have to take a big step forward if he ever wants to get out of the ~$2 million range.

numbers via naturalstattrick.com

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