5 Bold Predictions For New Jersey Devils This Season

New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes (86): (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)
New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes (86): (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Travis Zajac – New Jersey Devils (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Travis Zajac Will Be First Domino To Fall

The NHL Trade Deadline doesn’t come until April 12th, less than a month before the end of the regular season. It’s a very late deadline, but one that comes with this very strange season. That gives the Devils some extra time to make decisions of its many expiring contracts. Most important among them is Travis Zajac, Nikita Gusev, and Kyle Palmieri. Those three will likely bring them the best return on the market.

Zajac trails the other two, but because of the position he plays and his exceptional defense, he will be the one teams jump on first. Zajac can play second or third-line center for a team depending on a two-way player.

A team is going to deal with an injury they desperately need to replace. Think of a team like the Pittsburgh Penguins if they lose Evgeni Malkin. Can Zajac even remotely replace Malkin’s production? Of course not, but he can bridge the gap until Malkin returns then he can fall into a bottom-six role easily.

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NHL teams want flexibility out of their midseason trade assets. Zajac absolutely provides that, which is why a team will trade for him before making a move for Palmieri or Gusev. He will also cost a lot less, which should speed up trade talks.