Longtime NHLer Travis Zajac signed a one-day deal on Monday morning, in order to retire as a New Jersey Devil. Expected to potentially sign with the New York Islanders, Zajac is instead leaving professional hockey as a player, but will take on a different role with the team.
Related: Islanders Sign Zdeno Chara to One-Year Deal
Zajac, 36, became a part of the Devils organization when he was drafted by them in the first-round (20 overall) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. While in his final years in Jersey he was known as more of a shutdown centerman, he had several solid offensive seasons, none better than 2009-2010 where he put up career highs with 25 goals and 67 points.
“I was drafted in 2004 and played my first game in 2006,” Zajac said in a statement. “As I stand here nearing the end of 2021, I can only be grateful to sign one last time, and retire as a New Jersey Devil.
“As a kid playing hockey on the outdoor rinks in Winnipeg, I dreamt about playing in the NHL. Growing up the oldest of four boys, it was the perfect hockey environment. Thanks to my parents unwavering support in our lives, that dream became a reality. Then, I got to live that childhood goal for 15 years with the Devils.”
At the 2020-21 trade deadline, Zajac was traded for the first time in his career, alongside his teammate Kyle Palmieri, to the New York Islanders. Unfortunately, his quest to win a Stanley Cup fell short as he and the Isles were eliminated in the semi-finals by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
It is too bad Zajac was unable to find work for the 2021-22 season, given that he proved last year he could still play. Though he struggled when traded to the Islanders with just two points in 13 regular season games as well as two points in 14 playoff contests, he produced at a solid clip with the Devils beforehand with seven goals and 18 points in 33 games.
Zajac Had a Great NHL Career
Zajac finishes his career with an extremely impressive 1037 games played, and during that time was able to accumulate 203 goals and 552 points. He was quite underrated throughout his career given that, aside from very early on, he played on some very weak Devils rosters, proven by the fact that they missed the playoffs in seven of his last eight years.
Despite his retirement, Zajac won’t be going anywhere, as the Devils announced that he will remain with the organization in an on/off-ice player development and consulting role, while also working to grow the club’s youth hockey initiatives.
Next: Tyler Ennis Signs a PTO with the Ottawa Senators
NHL News/ 2 days ago
Maple Leafs Hire Shane Doan: Smart Way to Keep Auston Matthews
The Toronto Maple Leafs choosing to hire Shane Doan is a smart way to...
NHL News/ 3 days ago
Pierre-Luc Dubois Wants Trade from Jets, Won’t Re-Sign in Off-Season
Pierre-Luc Dubois has officially requested a trade out of Winnipeg and will not re-sign...
NHL News/ 5 days ago
Vegas Golden Knights Take Commanding 2-0 Series Lead in Stanley Cup Final
The Florida Panthers were dominated in Game 2 versus the Golden Knights by a...
NHL News/ 5 days ago
Senators “Examining Trade Market For Alex DeBrincat”
"There is word Monday afternoon that the Ottawa Senators have begun examining the trade market for...
Time for Maple Leafs’ Big Three to Put Money Where Mouths Are
The way things are typically done renders the Toronto Maple Leafs from maximizing their...
Featured/ 1 week ago
Feasible All Four Jets’ Stars Leave Winnipeg This Summer [Report]
One NHL insider says it's not out of the realm of possibility that all...
New York Rangers/ 1 week ago
Patrick Kane’s Surgery Throws His NHL Future into Uncertainty
Patrick Kane underwent a hip resurfacing procedure on Thursday, a decision that will keep...
Kyle Dubas Hired by Penguins as President Of Hockey Operations
The Pittsburgh Penguins have officially hired Kyle Dubas to be the President of Hockey...
Dubas May Say No to Penguins GM Job, Another Team In Mix
New reports suggest that Kyle Dubas may have turned down the Pittsburgh Penguins and...
NHL News/ 2 weeks ago
Dorion Details the Delay In Chychrun Being Traded to Senators
Pierre Dorion shared what took so long for the Jakob Chychrun deal to materialize...