The NHL Trade Deadline is quickly approaching at only two weeks away, and the New Jersey Devils have a lot of hard choices to make again. The rebuild has been up and down but as a whole the young pieces are starting to fall into place. The future does indeed look bright.
That being said, they have numerous parts that teams should be very interested in that are on expiring contracts and some that have just really turned a corner and would appeal to anyone on a playoff run. Things will happen early this season likely even more due to quarantine requirements. It will be a little harder to move players across a border, so if a deal is to be made to a Canadian team they should want it done as soon as possible to get him in the lineup and to get chemistry built.
Travis Zajac is the longest tenured Devils player, a leader in the locker room, and the last player on this team from when they were truly a contender. Early on this season, he looked like he had little left in the gas tank and the numbers have been going down steadily, but he has seen a huge resurgence alongside Janne Kuokkanen and Yegor Sharangovich.
With 14 points in 29 games so far, he would be on a ridiculous pace in a regular season for his age and that is not the biggest attribute he brings. Zajac is such a strong defensive center and has been above 50% in the faceoff circle every season since his sophomore year. Players with those intangibles always command something at the deadline and quite frankly Zajac could be worth more than some fans think.
Obviously he should not be forced out the door and he does have a no trade clause so in the end it will be up to Zajac, but he has never won the Stanley Cup and this team will not be in the hunt for likely the rest of his career. Will he want to follow his dream or stay at home in Jersey?
Much like fellow long-term Devil Andy Greene a team that will likely be calling is the Islanders and Lou who know exactly what Zajac brings to the table. He would slide into that system with ease in all likelihood. The price for him will hopefully be the same and with a second round pick and perhaps something else small the Devils may feel it is a good deal.