Tag: New Jersey Devils

Pavel Zacha

After missing one deadline, Devils and Zacha hope to sign deal before the next


Keep an eye on negotiations between New Jersey and ’15 first-rounder Pavel Zacha over the next three weeks.

Zacha, the only top-10 European draftee that’s yet to sign his entry-level deal, has already missed one key deadline and is now facing another in mid-August, per The Record:

As part of the agreement between the NHL and the European professional leagues, any 2015 draft pick under contract with a European club had to be signed by 5 p.m. on July 15. With Zacha contractually committed to Liberec in the Czech Republic’s Extraliga for 2015-16, it remains unclear how the Devils and Stefan missed that deadline.

As first reported here last Thursday, the Devils must now pay a $100,000 transfer fee directly to Liberec to extend the deadline to 5 p.m. on Aug. 15. If Zacha isn’t signed by then, however, he cannot play in the NHL before the 2016-17 season.

When I asked [player agent Patrik] Stefan on July 15 about the deadline and Zacha’s contract status with Liberec, he stated, “There is no contract.” Stefan confirmed Zacha’s Liberec contract today, however, and explained his answer last week as a misunderstanding.

“I was only saying that there was nothing preventing Pavel from signing from the Devils,” Stefan said.

Zacha was taken sixth overall in June. The other top-10 Euros — Ivan Provorov (seventh, Philly), Timo Meier (ninth, San Jose) and Mikko Rantanen (10th, Colorado) — have all inked their entry-level deals.

Zacha, 18, impressed onlookers at New Jersey’s recent prospects camp, to the point where some have suggested he could start next season in the NHL.

“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.”

At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Zacha has the size and strength to play in the bigs right now — all that remains is getting that contract signed. Shero didn’t seem to think it would be much of a problem, saying there were no “red flags” with regards to the negotiations.

“There’s nothing that’s going to stop us from signing Zacha,” Shero explained. “All I’ll say is we’re continuing to try to work on something with Pavel Zacha.

“If and when there is a deal that makes sense for both parties, we’ll sign it.”

Ah, arbitration: Holtby reportedly asking for $8 million, Caps countering at $5.1 million

Braden Holtby

Braden Holtby is proposing an $8 million salary.

The Washington Capitals are suggesting $5.1 million.

That’s according to CBC Sports reporter Tim Wharnsby, as the the two sides are scheduled to go to arbitration on Thursday.

Now, obviously, Holtby doesn’t really expect to get $8 million, just the same as the Caps don’t expect to get the 25-year-old goalie for a bargain $5.1 million. That’s just how arbitration works. Each side makes the strongest case it can.

The NHL’s highest cap hit for a goalie belongs to Henrik Lundqvist, at $8.5 million. And hey, the Holtby camp could argue* that Holtby actually has the same career save percentage as Lundqvist (.921).

Of course, the Caps could point to Cory Schneider having a .925 career save percentage, and his cap hit is only $6 million.

According to the Washington Post’s Alex Prewitt, in regular negotiations, the Caps were offering around $5.5 million while Holtby was asking for $6.5 million.

*As noted in the comments, only comparables that cover RFA years can be used in arbitration. But the point stands: Holtby has very good career numbers. If not Lundqvist, he could argue he deserves what Sergei Bobrovsky, 26, will make in Columbus next season.

Good start: Top-10 pick Zacha ‘was fantastic’ at development camp

Pavel Zacha
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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

Schneider suggested 3-on-3 OT goalie stats should be kept separate

Cory Schneider

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.

Shero confident Devils can re-sign Larsson, perhaps before arbitration date

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.