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Travis Zajac


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#1 thefiestygoat

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 03:10 PM

I know everyone wants to see more points from Zajac but I think he's been having a solid year. He has a 4.76 SH% which should regress (in a good way) towards the mean. Goals and points should be coming for him. Still he's been doing a lot of good things.

He's been their best face off man at 51.2%. He is averaging the 4th most ice time per game (most for a forward) at 18:46 (30.3%), plays more than any forward at EV (27.6%), 2nd most on the PK (33.3%), 4th most on the PP (50.7%). He's had the toughest zone starts at 5v5 (38.5% O/DSt%) for any Devil. His defensive zone starts are at a team high 39.4% and his 24.6% offensive zone starts are the 2nd least for any Devil. Overall his 38.5% O/DSt% is the 24th least favorable amongst NHL forwards with 10 GP so far (out of 216 forwards).

His possession numbers are pretty good too despite tough zone starts, in 5v5 score close situations, he has a Corsi For% of 59.1% (3rd on team) and a Fenwick For% of 58.8% (2nd on team). Also in 5v5 score close situations, his Corsi For% ranks 34th amongst NHL  forwards with 10 GP so far and his Fenwick For% ranks 37th (out of 216 forwards). Zajac also generally faces tough competition which makes his positive possession numbers that much more impressive.

His With Or Without You numbers also show that he makes his teammates around him better too.

Small sample size yes, but still, but I'd expect these trends to continue for him. He brings a lot of value even if he doesn't put up the attractive point totals that a "#1 center" traditionally does. With the cap going to go up year after year, his cap hit will be less and less of a percentage of the team's cap. I still think his deal is going to work out well for the Devils. Runs age 28-35 seasons at just a $5.75M cap hit. Plus it aligns to end when the current CBA ends (2021) - assuming neither side uses their opt out in 2019, which I kind of expect them to use knowing this league.

 

Here's a link that talks about how fast the cap could rise:

 

That's because the salary cap is going to be going up, of course. But it could be a very rapid rise as Elliotte Friedman of CBC said on Sportsnet 590 (via The Score) that the cap could easily hit the $80 million mark by the 2017-18 season. That's four years from now.

If the cap is going up so is the floor and if it the cap were to rise to $80 million in four years that means the floor would be on the rise too. There is a new formula to determine the floor so it won't just be $16 million less than the cap, but will probably come in somewhere around $59 million.


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#2 Marshall

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 03:13 PM

In a few years, 5.75 will be what a second line center fetches...which is really what Zajac is. If you want a true #1 C, they cost 8+ these days.


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#3 devlman

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 03:19 PM

He's an offensive black hole. Puck possession is nice and all, but the object of the game is to do something with that, and he just does not have top level skill.
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#4 Jerzey Devil

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 03:42 PM

Yeah I think he's our modern day John Madden. Great role player to have on your team but not a first line center (or scoring line center). 


Edited by Jerzey Devil, 26 October 2013 - 03:42 PM.

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#5 EdgeControl

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 03:45 PM

need to surround him with finishers and or snipers. love watching him play with the puck  hate watching him shoot


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#6 thefiestygoat

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 03:56 PM

He's an offensive black hole. Puck possession is nice and all, but the object of the game is to do something with that, and he just does not have top level skill.

Is he really an offensive black hole? Averages .58 points-per-game for his career, has 2 60+ point seasons and 2 40+ point seasons in 6 full seasons (not counting 2011-12 where he missed most of it). I think he can be a consistent 40-50 point center that provides great defense and makes his teammates better around him. His SH% was a bit inflated early in his career but he's been really unlucky in recent seasons as well as his teammates:

2012-13: 48 GP, 8.5 SH%, 5.54 On-Ice Team SH%
2011-12: 15 GP, 8.0 SH%, 7.22 On-Ice Team SH%
2010-11: 82 GP, 7.5 SH%, 7.82 On-Ice Team SH%
2009-10: 82 GP, 11.9 SH%, 8.96 On-Ice Team SH%
2008-09: 82 GP, 10.8 SH%, 9.21 On-Ice Team SH%
2007-08: 82 GP, 9.0 SH%, 5.98 On-Ice Team SH%
2006-07: 80 GP, 12.7 SH%, On-Ice Team SH% not available

 

Yeah I think he's our modern day John Madden. Great role player to have on your team but not a first line center (or scoring line center). 

Madden never cracked 60+ points in a season and only cracked 40+ points twice. Zajac averages .58 points-per-game while Madden averaged .38 points-per-game. Zajac has played 417 less games than Madden and only has 69 less points. Zajac has a lot more offensive upside than Madden ever had and Zajac still has at least 3-4 prime years left. Zajac's a solid top 6 player (I don't like to labels like #1 or #2 etc).


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#7 NJDevs4978

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 04:03 PM

Zajac's offensive numbers are awful when he's not riding shotgun to Zach.  His overall game's been awful this year too, he just floats soft shots in from long distance and isn't even winning faceoffs the way he usually does.


Edited by NJDevs4978, 26 October 2013 - 04:08 PM.

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#8 Jerzey Devil

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 04:10 PM

Is he really an offensive black hole? Averages .58 points-per-game for his career, has 2 60+ point seasons and 2 40+ point seasons in 6 full seasons (not counting 2011-12 where he missed most of it). I think he can be a consistent 40-50 point center that provides great defense and makes his teammates better around him. His SH% was a bit inflated early in his career but he's been really unlucky in recent seasons as well as his teammates:

2012-13: 48 GP, 8.5 SH%, 5.54 On-Ice Team SH%
2011-12: 15 GP, 8.0 SH%, 7.22 On-Ice Team SH%
2010-11: 82 GP, 7.5 SH%, 7.82 On-Ice Team SH%
2009-10: 82 GP, 11.9 SH%, 8.96 On-Ice Team SH%
2008-09: 82 GP, 10.8 SH%, 9.21 On-Ice Team SH%
2007-08: 82 GP, 9.0 SH%, 5.98 On-Ice Team SH%
2006-07: 80 GP, 12.7 SH%, On-Ice Team SH% not available

 

Madden never cracked 60+ points in a season and only cracked 40+ points twice. Zajac averages .58 points-per-game while Madden averaged .38 points-per-game. Zajac has played 417 less games than Madden and only has 69 less points. Zajac has a lot more offensive upside than Madden ever had and Zajac still has at least 3-4 prime years left. Zajac's a solid top 6 player (I don't like to labels like #1 or #2 etc).

 

Yeah I put "or scoring line center" in parenthesis because using #1 or #2 line isn't always accurate especially for the Devils.

 

I don't think Madden ever really got to play with anyone like Parise or Kovy though. I'd be curious to see what his numbers would have looked like if he had. Not saying the only reason Zajac put up points was because he played with Parise and Kovy. 

 

I just think we need a dangerous scoring center we can put with scoring forwards and we can call it whatever we want. Those are really hard to come by though. Not every team has one.


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#9 maxpower

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 04:12 PM

10 games isn't the best sample for a guy who tops out at 50-60 points.   He could go on a run over the next while and be back in line.

 

He's not a big offensive player, but you've had 3 years to accept that, so I'm not sure why it's suddenly an issue now.   It's not like he put up 60 last season.  


Yeah I put "or scoring line center" in parenthesis because using #1 or #2 line isn't always accurate especially for the Devils.

 

I don't think Madden ever really got to play with anyone like Parise or Kovy though. I'd be curious to see what his numbers would have looked like if he had. Not saying the only reason Zajac put up points was because he played with Parise and Kovy. 

 

I just think we need a dangerous scoring center we can put with scoring forwards and we can call it whatever we want. Those are really hard to come by though. Not every team has one.

 

They're not even remotely the same type of player.    Madden was a counterattack player.    He's probably closer related to Henrique


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#10 Jerzey Devil

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 04:14 PM

10 games isn't the best sample for a guy who tops out at 50-60 points.   He could go on a run over the next while and be back in line.

 

He's not a big offensive player, but you've had 3 years to accept that, so I'm not sure why it's suddenly an issue now.   It's not like he put up 60 last season.  


 

They're not even remotely the same type of player.    Madden was a counterattack player.    He's probably closer related to Henrique

 

I just mean as far as the role I think he should be playing. 

 

I mean I guess it's a little different now because the CBGB line is basically the "checking" line but I think Zajac would be best used against the opposing team's top line. He's great in our end and good enough at offense to at least keep the play in the offensive zone wile the opposing team's top line is out.


Edited by Jerzey Devil, 26 October 2013 - 04:17 PM.

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#11 Mike Brown

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 04:15 PM

I agree.  Zajac is having an underappreciated year.  He's still great defensively, and that part has never wavered.  I think his offensive game will come around.


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#12 maxpower

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 04:21 PM

I just mean as far as the role I think he should be playing. 

 

I mean I guess it's a little different now because the CBGB line is basically the "checking" line but I think Zajac would be best used against the opposing team's top line. He's great in our end and good enough at offense to at least keep the play in the offensive zone wile the opposing team's top line is out.

 

I'd like to see him play for another coach, personally.    At least before I write him off.


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#13 Jerzey Devil

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 04:25 PM

I'd like to see him play for another coach, personally.    At least before I write him off.

 

I don't mean to sound like I'm writing him off at all. I've just never seen him as a first line center. I think if used right he's one of the more important players on the team. 

 

Zubs-Zajac-Clowe 

 

Could be a good line to try (when healthy).


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#14 NJDevs4978

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 04:34 PM

I'd like to see him play for another coach, personally.    At least before I write him off.

 

Zajac had a 44-point season for Mac/Lemaire in '10-11 when Parise played thirteen games.  He did well in the playoffs two years ago under Pete, when he had a healthy Zach on his wing.  Zajac's offense (and really Henrique's too) went to Minnesota in the summer of '12 though.


Edited by NJDevs4978, 26 October 2013 - 04:36 PM.

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"The Devils have high standards, that's the difference. We have a standard to live up to every year, and a couple of teams in our area don't have the standards we do." - Pat Burns

The New Jersey Devils win Stanley Cups everywhere:
-NHL record for most road wins in the playoffs - 10-1 in '95 and 10-2 in '00
-NHL record for most home wins in the playoffs - 12-1 in '03

#15 maxpower

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 04:41 PM

Zajac had a 44-point season for Mac/Lemaire in '10-11 when Parise played thirteen games.  He did well in the playoffs two years ago under Pete, when he had Zach on his wing.  Zajac's offense (and really Henrique's too) went to Minnesota in the summer of '12.

 

He played very well for Lemaire in Lemaire's half.   He's not playing very well under PDB.


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#16 NJDevs4978

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 04:46 PM

He played very well for Lemaire in Lemaire's half.   He's not playing very well under PDB.

 

He had 7 goals and 16 assists (23 points) with a +3 in the second half of the season.  Still a 46-point pace, which is probably just below what I'd ideally want from him - maybe a low 50-point total.  That line was basically a one-man show offensively for the most part with Zajac doing the dirty work for Kovy and Palmeri just taking in oxygen.


Edited by NJDevs4978, 26 October 2013 - 04:48 PM.

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"The Devils have high standards, that's the difference. We have a standard to live up to every year, and a couple of teams in our area don't have the standards we do." - Pat Burns

The New Jersey Devils win Stanley Cups everywhere:
-NHL record for most road wins in the playoffs - 10-1 in '95 and 10-2 in '00
-NHL record for most home wins in the playoffs - 12-1 in '03

#17 devlman

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 05:41 PM

Feisty, his decent offensive numbers are a thing of the past. I don't think he's going to approach those numbers ever again
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#18 Mike Brown

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 08:01 PM

I love what Zajac brings defensively.  But his offensive game does need to be better.


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#19 dmann422

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 09:04 PM

Most fans are obsessed with goals and assists and act like nothing else matters or at least nothing else matters enough to warrant serious discussion.

Zajac is not an offensive black hole. He's strong along the boards and has enough vision to create when he has the space. He does not have the finishing ability to be a great or maybe even good scorer.

He is elite or at the very least near-elite defensively, I constantly notice him as the first forward back checking to break up an opponents break. He draws the toughest matchups and at crunch time is used in all situations. And obviously is respected in the locker room as evidenced by the a on the sweater.

Unfortunately many will measure him by his contract which is a little high, but it was necessary to lock him up at the time. I have no problem with it and am confident that he will be a quality piece for this team for a while.
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#20 Mike Brown

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 09:27 PM

Most fans are obsessed with goals and assists and act like nothing else matters or at least nothing else matters enough to warrant serious discussion.

Zajac is not an offensive black hole. He's strong along the boards and has enough vision to create when he has the space. He does not have the finishing ability to be a great or maybe even good scorer.

He is elite or at the very least near-elite defensively, I constantly notice him as the first forward back checking to break up an opponents break. He draws the toughest matchups and at crunch time is used in all situations. And obviously is respected in the locker room as evidenced by the a on the sweater.

Unfortunately many will measure him by his contract which is a little high, but it was necessary to lock him up at the time. I have no problem with it and am confident that he will be a quality piece for this team for a while.

 

I think Zajac has too good of a shot to say he doesn't have finishing ability.  His problem is he doesn't put himself into position to use it a lot.  And when he does, he likes to pass.


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