You can’t read too much into development camp, but it seems Pavel Zacha couldn’t have made a better impression on Devils GM Ray Shero.
“I thought he was fantastic,” Shero told the Bergen Record. “That was the feedback we gave him today. I think that was from the entire staff. Very professional, very mature. He roomed with Damon Severson this week and they were really good together, but I think Pavel passed that on as well in terms of getting to know everybody here whether it was a draft pick or a tryout or just really dealing with people. So, I thought he did a real good job on and off the ice.”
Zacha also impressed John Hynes with his work ethic. The bench boss also noted that he’s “very coachable.”
The 18-year-old forward was taken with the sixth overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Although expectations always have to be tempered when talking about a player that young, the hope is that he’ll eventually play a big role on a Devils’ team that has ranked in the bottom-five in goals per game for the last three seasons.
He might even make the team out of training camp, but for that to even be possible he needs to sign an entry-level contract in the not too distant future. That’s because he’s tied to the Czech Republic squad Liberec and there’s a Aug. 18 deadline to get players that are under contract in Europe signed in order for them to be eligible to play in the NHL next season.
As it is the Devils will have to pay a $100,000 transfer fee because they didn’t get his deal done before the first deadline on July 15.
That being said, Shero said there haven’t been any “red flags” in the contract talks.
Related: Get to know a draft pick — Pavel Zacha
With the latest rule changes to the structure of overtime, has it become so different from the rest of the game that those 3-on-3 minutes should be kept separate statistically, just like shootouts? New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider argued in favor of such a distinction.
“It’s going to be interesting for the goalies,” Schneider said of the decision to adopt the new overtime format, per ESPN. “I was a passenger during that discussion. I suggested a side category where a goalie’s 3-on-3 stats could be hidden away and not put into your main stats, because it’s going to be tough. There’s so much talent in the NHL and sometimes 5-on-5 opens up, but 3-on-3 is going to open up and fans are really going to love it. It’s going to be up and down the ice. It’s going to be hard for us goalies, so we’re going to have to be really sharp and ready to go.”
Of course, the hope is that 3-on-3 overtime has the impact Schneider is suggesting as that would lead to fewer games being decided by a shootout. It also has the potential to hurt the statistics of goalies for the very same reason.
As far as whether or not that’s reason enough to separate those statistics is open to different opinions. As it is there are a lot of different situations that play out over the course of an NHL game that get lumped together if you only look at the base numbers. In 2014-15, Joe Thornton’s five empty-net goals were worth the same as Tyler Toffoli’s five shorthanded markers as far as overall statistics were concerned, just as 3-on-3 play during regulation time would be counted together with 5-on-5 actions.
That being said, with the rise of analytics fans have the luxury of filtering out certain scenarios if they choose to do so. For example, if you want to attempt to evaluate players on a more consistently level field by only looking at 5-on-5 play, you can do that. So in a way, each person will get to decide for themselves if the new overtime play should be counted alongside everything else.
The New Jersey Devils and defenseman Adam Larsson are nearing an arbitration date, but the club’s general manager Ray Shero seems to believe a deal could perhaps be completed before then, according to NHL.com, via NorthJersey.com.
As per NHL.com, Larsson’s arbitration hearing is July 29. In his fourth season with the Devils, the 22-year-old blue liner scored three goals and had 24 points — both career highs — in 64 games.
“I think we’ll get a deal done,” said Shero.
“We have time before the arbitration date certainly and we’ll see where that leads us, but the goal with [Eric] Gelinas was to try to agree to a deal we’re both happy with and it’s the same thing with Larsson. I had a conversation with [agent] J.P. Barry again [Thursday] and I hope within the next few days to have an idea where we’re going. We’ve talked about a lot of different things.”
Larsson, taken fourth overall in the 2011 NHL Draft and now a restricted free agent, was one of two Devils’ players to originally elect for salary arbitration.
The Devils avoided arbitration with defenseman Eric Gelinas earlier this week by re-signing him to a two-year contract extension worth $3.15 million.
According to Tom Gulitti for The Record, the Devils also re-signed defenseman Seth Helgeson to a two-year contract.