Travis Zajac was miscast as a first-line center at times last season, but the 32-year-old veteran could see himself drop out of the top six forwards altogether if 2017 first overall pick Nico Hischier and 2015 sixth overall selected Pavel Zacha leapfrog him. With no more than 48 points in any of the past seven seasons, Zajac also has a clear ceiling should he hold on to a top-six role. He has topped the 40-point mark with double-digit power-play points in four of the past seven seasons, but it's not hard to find similar production with greater room for growth elsewhere around the league.
Zajac (pectoral) will start rehabbing his left arm in approximately one month's time, Andrew Gross of The Record reports. Zajac won't be ready to return until mid-December at the earliest after undergoing offseason surgery. The biggest impact of the 32-year-old's absence will likely be a bigger role -- and more pressure -- for first overall pick Nico Hischier.
Zajac underwent surgery on a torn pectoral muscle and will miss the next 4-to-6 months. Zajac played in 80 contests last season and was in line to challenge for a third straight 40-plus point campaign. Instead, the center will be out until mid-December at the earliest. With the 32-year-old sidelined, Pavel Zacha will likely slot in as the first-line center and rookie Nico Hischier could be forced into a top-six role right out of the gate.
Zajac posted a pair of assists in Thursday's 7-4 loss to the Penguins. This was Zajac's first multi-point game since March 16, and he managed just a goal and an assist in the 10-game span between then and Thursday. He also dominated in the faceoff circle, winning 17 of 27, which is nice if you play in a fantasy format where that counts. It's been just another ho-hum season for Zajac, whose point total has settled into the 40s yet again.
Zajac scored New Jersey's only goal in Saturday's 3-1 loss to the Hurricanes. Gulp -- it snapped a 10-game goal drought, a span in which Zajac only managed two assists. Center is too deep to have patience with that kind of slump.
Zajac picked up a pair of assists and went plus-4 in Thursday's 6-2 victory over the Flyers. He'd whiffed on the scoresheet in five straight games, then missed one for the birth of a child; perhaps the time off gave Zajac some new perspective on his game. The 31-year-old pivot has now cleared 40 points for the seventh time, but he hasn't hit even 50 since posting his career-best 67 in 2009-10. There's some fantasy value here, but mostly in deeper formats.
Rank Among Leaders
Last 7 Games
|3 Year Avg||76||13||24||37||-2||5||0||1||747||655||104.2|