Apr 25, 2013; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Travis Zajac (19) skates with the puck during the third period at the Prudential Center. The Devils defeated the Penguins 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Travis Zajac Player Preview

Travis has slowly grown to become one of the faces of the future for the New Jersey Devils. Zajac has spent his entire professional career on the Devils and has represented Canada on two separate occasions. Ever since his BCHL and NCAA days, he has always posted a very good amount of points and was always known to be more of a playmaker than a goal scorer.

In his entire career, the most points he has posted in a season is 112 points (43 G, 69 A) from his BCHL days with the Salmon Arm SilverBacks. He achieved this in 59 games. That same year, he posted 23 playoff points (10 G, 13 A) in 14 playoff games.

For the two years he played for the University of North Dakota, the most points he posted in a season was 47 points (18 G, 29 A) in 2005-06. Later that year, he played two games with the Albany River Rats and recorded an assist.

Apr 7, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller (30) stops a shot by New Jersey Devils center Travis Zajac (19) during the third period at the First Niagara Center. Sabres beat the Devils 3-2 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The next year, he started to impress right away. Coming off a new, 3-year, 2-way contract with the Devils, he totaled 42 points in 80 games and 5 playoff points in 11 playoff games. After 34 and 62 point seasons the next two years, he signed a 4-year, 15.5 million dollar contract.

After another 60+ point season and a 44 point season the next year, he was hit with injuries that put him out for a long time. He only played in 15 games in 2011-12 and totaled 6 points. Once the lockout was over, Zajac came back strong and had 20 points in 48 games.

He is also coming off a fresh 8-year, 46 million dollar contract to keep him around until the conclusion of the 2020-21 season.

Aside from one season of injuries, Zajac has proven to be more than reliable for the Devils.

He is the clear-cut option to have at #1 center. As productive as Zubrus has been, Zajac has proven to be more productive and less injury prone. He also has the potential to be a lifetime Devil, although he has a long way to go. Signing a hefty 8-year deal helps, though.

The only other person that comes to mind that could be a #1 center for the Devils this year would be Patrik Elias but they will most likely put him at left wing considering the chemistry between him and Jaromir Jagr can be easily exploited.

Things are looking very promising for Travis Zajac and I, for one, hope he stays a Devil for the rest of his career as he has a lot of potential. He has never showed any signs of slowing down besides one year where he only played 15 games.
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