Zajac, 27, was New Jersey’s first-round pick at the 2004 NHL Entry Draft and has spent his entire six-year career with the Devils.
In 2010, he posted career highs in goals (25), assists (42) and points (67) and in 2011, became the franchise’s record holder for most consecutive games played (401).
Zajac missed a large chunk of the 2011-12 season with a torn Achilles, appearing in just 15 regular season contests (posting 2G-4A-6PTS). He recovered in time for the playoffs and was a huge part of New Jersey’s Stanley Cup finals run, posting 14 points in 24 games while scoring two game-winning goals.
With the new deal, Zajac will become New Jersey’s second highest-paid player — behind Ilya Kovalchuk — when his extension begins in 2013-14.
Zajac will carry a $5.75 million cap hit, up from his current $3.87 million.
Note: Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos points out the deal is indicative of the “no more front-loaded contracts” theme featured in the new CBA.
Zajac will make $3.5 million in the first year of his deal, $5 million the next, $6.5 million from years three through six, and $5.75 million in the final two years.
Tim Gleason has likely played his last NHL game. The 32-year-old defenseman has informed the Carolina Hurricanes that he no longer wishes to continue his professional tryout.
“Tim informed us today he wasn’t going to continue to pursue his tryout,” said GM Ron Francis, per the club’s website. “He looked and felt good physically, but didn’t feel up to the grind of the NHL mentally.”
“We got outcompeted in the second period, badly,” Mark Letestu told the team’s website. “Whether it was little puck battles or even just executing on systems. It played right into their game. When you get behind a team like this that’s so dominant in the circle it’s tough to generate chances to come back. We didn’t deserve to win this one at all.”
As if things weren’t bad enough, the Oilers also lost Nail Yakupovto injury after a linesman (yes, a linesman) fell on top of him.
After the game, head coach Todd McLellan didn’t hold back:
"That's a really disappointing effort from our hockey club… We weren't a very determined team." McLellan on the #Oilers defeat