The Devils Owe Some Czech Team $100K If They Want Their First Round Pick, Pavel Zacha, To Play In The NHL This Year
Fire&Ice- Contract talks with Devils' 2015 first-round pick Pavel Zacha continue to progress to the point that general manager Ray Shero did not rule out today the possibility of an agreement being reached before the completion of the team's development camp this week.
Whenever Zacha is signed, however, it appears the Devils will have to pay a $100,000 transfer fee to his team in the Czech Republic for him to be eligible to play in the NHL in 2015-16.
As part of the agreement between the NHL and the European professional leagues, any 2015 draft pick that is under contract with a European club had to be signed by 5 p.m. on July 15 (Wednesday) to play in the NHL in the 2015-16 season. The NHL team can still extend the deadline until Aug. 15 by paying $100,000 directly to the European team that owns the player's rights.
In Zacha's case, that team is Liberec, for which he put up four goals and four assists in 38 games as a 16-year-old in 2013-14. Zacha played in the OHL for Sarnia in 2014-15 under a limited one-year release from his deal with Liberec.
Although Zacha's agent, Patrik Stefan, stated, “there is no contract” with Liberec, a source familiar with the Czech Extraliga said Zacha, the sixth pick overall in this year's NHL draft, is signed with the Czech team for 2015-16.
Shero said “we have an idea” of whether Zacha is under contract with Liberec, but would not say definitively either way.
“I don't think it matters,” Shero said. “There's nothing that's going to stop us from signing Zacha. All I'll say is we're continuing to try to work on something with Pavel Zacha. If and when there is a deal that makes sense for both parties, we'll sign it. Our goal is to sign him, it always has been and it doesn't matter because it's all part of he bigger picture in terms of what's best for Pavel and the hockey team. It's the same thing about whether he's going to play on our team or not (in 2015-16). That's all.
Jesus, quite an indictment of the Czech Republic, huh? Hell, if we are being honest, it's pretty much an indictment of any country that isn't the United States or Canada, since we are talking hockey. How bad must things be over there if team's are giving away NHL caliber players on loan for a measly hundred thousand dollars? This is like the sports franchise equivalent of subleasing your apartment. Except the only people that sublease their apartment are those that aren't in need of an apartment for a long period of time, or those people in their 20's that are living paycheck to paycheck. Safe to say a professional hockey team in the Czech League is certainly in need of every talented hockey player with endless potential that they can possibly get their hands on, and they certainly shouldn't be dependent on a 6 figure payout to sustain themselves.
Zacha's Czech team, Liberec, demanding $100,000 dollars for his services is the most laughable asking price in history. It reminds me of when Dr. Evil asked the United Nations for a million dollars in 'Austin Powers' and they damn near laughed him out of the building. $100K may seem like a lot to pay for one year of a player's negotiating rights to you or me, but it's basically pocket change to the Devils' ownership group. It's almost not even a large enough sum to be a story. Joshua Harris, principal Devils' owner, is worth like 2 billion dollars. Asking him for a hundred thousand dollars is like asking him to tip a stripper. It's like dropping a dime, a nickel, and a couple of pennies into a tip jar at the local deli. It more closely resembles charity than it does an actual financial obligation. Anything under seven figures is considered 'hush money'. Not like criminal hush money, like 'I'm too rich to take your phone calls and listen to you speak' hush money. Sure Liberec, here you go. It's all there. In cash. You pheasants. Don't spend it all in one place. If anyone thinks that a couple of shekels, relatively speaking, is going to change how the Devils handle a player that is so imperative to their future success then they are beside of their mind.
P.S. This could also potentially make Pavel Zacha eligible for the AHL next year. Which means that he would likely be playing professional hockey in North America next year. That's something that should please all Devils' fans. Especially if his performance at prospect camp is any indication....