New Jersey Devils: 5 Huge Surprises That Could Happen This Offseason

Pavel Zacha #37 and P.K. Subban #76 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Pavel Zacha #37 and P.K. Subban #76 of the New Jersey Devils. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
2 of 6
New Jersey Devils
New Jersey Devils center Pavel Zacha (37): Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

1. Pavel Zacha Doesn’t Get A Qualifying Offer

The New Jersey Devils have a few very serious restricted free agent contracts to deal with. Some might be more complicated than they appear, and then there’s the Jesper Bratt deal. The Devils have to figure out just how high they want to go for Bratt. Is he going to get paid like others coming off a career year? Are the Devils worried about giving him a contract that they regret?

This leads us to Pavel Zacha. Shero gave Zacha a three-year deal that’s ending this offseason. It came with an increased salary, leaving him with a $3 million salary this past season. That means his qualifying offer would pay him $3 million for one more year. The Devils have to offer him $3 million on an offer sheet just to hold Zacha’s rights.

It seems like a formality that the Devils would offer Zacha an offer sheet. Even if they don’t see him as a part of the foundation of the team, they would offer him the contract just to hold his rights for another year. The Devils have been rumored to shop Zacha around, and he’s even been tied to some teams.

What if the Devils just decide to cut their losses? $3 million is not a huge salary, but it might be something that really hurts his trade value. Just to deal him, the Devils might have to hold onto some of that salary, or they might have to accept barely anything in a trade. The Devils would just decide to keep him over losing him for nothing, and then he’s holding another spot on the roster.

The Devils have a little bit longer to make the decision this year. They have until the day after the NHL Draft, and that falls about a week later on July 7th and 8th. Is it likely the Devils pull a QO from Zacha and allow him to become an unrestricted free agent? No, but it’s not likely the Devils want to pay him $3 million either.