The New Jersey Devils like what they’ve seen from prospect Pavel Zacha and why wouldn’t they? The sixth overall pick in last year’s draft played in one game with the Devils last season and picked up a pair of assists. That’s on top of his three points in three AHL games and his 64 points in 51 games with the Sarnia Sting (OHL).
The 19-year-old already has NHL size (6’3, 210 pounds), but has he developed enough to make the leap to being a full-time NHLer? Devils general manager Ray Shero thinks so.
“Absolutely, I’m looking forward to seeing him,” Shero said of Zacha possibly making the team in 2016-17, per NorthJersey.com. “He’s been battling a hip pointer and we’ll see how that impacts him at development camp, but he’ll be ready for training camp. Yeah, there’s room for him. There’s always room for good players.”
Cracking New Jersey’s top two lines might be a little ambitious, but it’s not out of the question. Zacha, who’s a natural center, will likely have Adam Henrique and Travis Zajac ahead of him on the depth chart in 2016-17. Taylor Hall and Mike Cammalleri will probably play on the left side on the first two lines and Kyle Palmieri, who recently signed an extension with the club, is the primary right winger.
Where Zacha fits in will likely be determined by the organization’s philosophy with young centers. Will Shero want the rookie to start on the wing or will they insist on putting him at his natural position? A final decision will probably depend on Zacha’s performance in camp, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him make an immediate impact next season.