Report: Zacha will remain with the Devils

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Pavel Zacha has played eight games for the New Jersey Devils so far this season, and it appears the club will keep the 2015 sixth overall pick beyond the upcoming nine game threshold.

If the Devils do decide to keep Zacha beyond nine games, the club will burn the first year of his entry-level contract. Per Andrew Gross of The Record on Monday, that does, indeed, appear to be the plan.

In those eight games, Zacha has three assists, averaging 14:38 of ice time, while putting up decent puck possession numbers, too.

He’s also been promoted to center a line with the Devils’ leading goal scorer Taylor Hall and winger Kyle Palmieri, who had 30 goals last season.

His performance early this season as a 19-year-old playing up the middle in the NHL — not to mention with established scorers — hasn’t gone unnoticed, either.

“Great young player. He’s a guy that’s big and strong and very capable in his own end for a player of his age,” Hall recently told NJ.com. “You usually don’t see that. And on faceoffs, usually that takes a lot of time to get the faceoffs down and be a guy who can be relied on there.”

While Zacha is still searching for his first NHL goal, he’s been able to display his versatility, with the Devils giving him some opportunities on the power play and penalty kill.

“He’s shown that he’s been able to do a good job and handle that [responsibility],” added head coach John Hynes. “He’s shown that when he’s got energy and he’s engaged in the game, he can play anywhere [in our lineup].”

Last season, Zacha split his time between three teams.

The bulk of his campaign was spent with the OHL’s Sarnia Sting. But he also got in eight games, combined regular season and playoffs, with the AHL’s Albany Devils, and one game with the big club in New Jersey.

The Devils don’t play again until Thursday, when they face the Florida Panthers on the road.

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