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.