Fire & Ice-The Devils have signed 2015 first-round pick Pavel Zacha to a three-year, entry-level contract, the team announced this afternoon.
The sides finalized the deal Monday night.
As part of the transfer agreement with European professional leagues, Zacha had to be signed to an NHL contract before 5 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 15) to be eligible to play in the NHL in 2015-16 because the 6-foot-3, 210-pound center is still under contract for one more season with Liberec in the Czech Extraliga.
The Devils selected Zacha, 18, sixth overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
As expected, the two-way deal carries the NHL's entry-level maximum salary cap hit of $925,000 per season and the maximum entry-level salary of $70,000.
You know what they say, you can't lead your team to a Stanley Cup Championship without signing your rookie deal first. Step One: Complete. Psssh, this rebuilding thing is easier than I thought. This is one of those signings that probably took a little longer than the average Devils fan would have liked, but it never crossed over into the territory where there was any doubt of whether it would get done in time. Thank God. I don't plan on writing another negative blog about the Devils until there is meaningful hockey being played, and a training camp holdout from the most integral part of this team's future would have absolutely been worthy of criticism.
On to the more important question, will Pavel Zacha be playing for the Devils this season? Honestly, I have all the faith in the world that the answer to that question is up to him. This team needs to get younger, faster, and more importantly better, so I trust that the front office wants the youngest, fastest, and best players on the rink. If Pavel Zacha can not only fit in, but stand out in training camp, there is little doubt that he will be lacing up his skates for a team that desperately needs his presence. When Zacha was first drafted I was of the school of thought that he could probably use another year of seasoning before taking the leap to the NHL. With each passing day I am letting my selfishness take over. I want to see the kid play this year. Obviously not if it is detrimental to his development, but let's just say that if it's close, we should give him the benefit of the doubt. Especially with the lack of high end talent that Devils fans have had the distinct displeasure of watching over the last few years. Whatever the case ends up being, Zacha's Devils career is officially underway, and we can only hope that it's a lengthy prosperous one that begins and ends in New Jersey.