New Jersey Devils Rumors: Possible Travis Zajac Trades to Toronto


Over the last few days there’s been recent rumblings that former Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello is interested in trading for Travis Zajac and bringing him over to Toronto.

The news was first reported by Elliote Friedman of in his Wednesday column when he said;

"“There’s more than one NHL exec who thinks Lou Lamoriello would love to get his hands on Travis Zajac.”"

Now before everyone goes into a frenzy, it’s important to note that trade rumors and Lou Lamoriello never seem to fit hand-in-hand. When Lou was at the helm in New Jersey he always operated behind closed doors, and even those close to him never really knew what the ‘don’ hand planned up his sleeve.

However, Lou Lamoriello is now working in Toronto – a completely different sports market than New Jersey. So while this might be an outside shot, I do think there’s some truth to these rumors.

After all, Lamoriello was always very high on Zajac, whom he drafted with 20th-overall pick in the 2004 NHL Draft. Before Corey Schneider was signed to his contract extension, Travis Zajac was the highest paid player on the Devils roster for a number of seasons.

This is all speculation, but if these rumors prove to be true, here’s a look at some potential trade’s involving Zajac that could work:

1. Travis Zajac for Tyler Bozak straight up.

This seems to be the most obvious trade scenario. Bozak, who is a year younger than Travis Zajac played center in the middle of Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk last season, and despite posting 49 points (23 G 26 A), Bozak was an underwhelming -34. While Bozak will certainly be an offensive upgrade over Travis Zajac, his defensive presence certainly won’t compare to what Zajac can offer the Devils. Zajac is as solid a two-way center as they come, posting a career +31 in nine seasons as a member of the New Jersey Devils. Tyler Bozak does have just three years left on his contract with an average annual cap hit of $4.2 million, which is much more manageable than Travis Zajac’s remaining five-years with an annual hit of $5.75 million.

2. Travis Zajac, Reid Boucher/John Quenneville, 2016 2nd Round Pick for JVR

James van Riemsdyk is obviously a much more flashy name than Tyler Bozak, but there have been rumors floating around Toronto all summer that the Leafs were trying to part ways with van Riemdsdyk after dealing Phil Kessel to Pittsburgh at the draft. James van Riemdsdyk is a goal scorer, something the Devils desperately need. He’s coming off a season in which he netted 27 goals and 29 assists. One year prior he recorded 30 goals and 31 assists, which is why the Devils will need to cough up one of their top forward prospects along with a high draft pick in 2016 to even kick-start trade discussions on JVR, even if it involves Travis Zajac.

On the Devils front, they would be acquiring another New Jersey born star to play alongside Kyle Palmieri. James van Riemdsdyk, 26, is a native of Middletown, New Jersey. Similar to Palmieri, JVR played for the United States National Development Program when Devils coach John Hynes was behind the bench. Also, JVR is owed just $4.25 million per year over the next three season, which is a lot more friendlier than that $5.75 AAV owed to Zajac.

The only problem for the Devils is who will play center? If they part ways with Zajac to bring a winger, they’ll likely only have Adam Henrique and Jacob Josefson as their top-six centers.

3. Travis Zajac, 2016 2nd round pick, 2017 2nd round pick for Nazem Kadri

Kadri, like JVR is a young forward with a world of potential. The Maple Leafs selected him 7th-overall in the 2009 NHL Draft, but he’s proven to be a head case for the Maple Leafs front office over the last six season. While splitting time between the Maple Leafs and Marlies through the 2012-13 and playing as a regular for much of the last two seasons, Kadri has recorded 64 goals and 88 assists in 250 total NHL games. Kadri is currently on a one-year bridge deal to essentially show the Leafs that he’s worth the money he and his agent have commanded. Throughout the early stages go pre-season and training camp, the Maple Leafs might have seen enough.

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