Saturday’s contest against the Toronto Maple Leafs might go down as something more than just the end of another disappointing season for the Devils.
New Jersey opened the door for the game more meaning when they announced that Pavel Zacha has been summoned from OHL Sarnia. That makes the highly regarded prospect available to make his NHL debut.
The 19-year-old forward was taken with the sixth overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. He then went into training camp and just barely fell short of a roster spot. Even before the season began, Zacha already had the build of an NHLer at 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds and his offensive abilities had to make the possibility of having him on the roster tempting. At the same time, his experience within North America was limited going into the 2015-16 campaign.
That’s been remedied after a full season with Sarnia where he had 28 goals, 64 points, and 97 penalty minutes in 51 contests. He added another 13 points and 16 penalty minutes in seven playoff games.
At the least, playing him tomorrow would give Zacha a taste of what the NHL is like to motivate him over the summer. However, it would also be a chance for him to make a strong impression even before the 2016 training camp.