Report: Capitals, Canucks Interested In Devils’ Zacha Prior To NHL Trade Deadline

Photo: All About The Jersey

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Washington Capitals and Vancouver Canucks are among the suitors for New Jersey Devils left-wing Pavel Zacha ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline five weeks away from Monday.

The 24-year-old, a natural center, has earned 12 goals, 23 points, and a career-worst -19 rating in 46 games for the Devils this season one year after setting career-highs in goals (17) and points (35) in 50 games.

In 362 career NHL games, all with the Devils, the sixth overall pick from the 2015 NHL Draft has 66 goals and 166 points. He does not have a point in five Stanley Cup Playoff games, which were all played in 2018. Zacha has also scored at least three power-play goals in four straight seasons.

The Capitals rank 11th in the NHL with an average of 3.20 goals-per-game but 28th with a 15.5% power-play efficiency this season and 21st with an average of 2.80 goals-per-game since December 18. Over the past two seasons, they have struggled replacing a center when one gets hurt, which has cost them in the postseason. With Nicklas Backstrom missing 32 games this season due to injury and illness, the Capitals could use some insurance up the middle. All four centers have missed time this season due to COVID-19 protocol and/or injury.

Zacha has averaged 17:06 per game (third among Devils forwards this season), including 2:14 on the power-play (fifth), this season.

As a former top-10 pick that has not quite panned out but puts up respectable numbers, a second-round pick and another selection may be the price to pay.

Zacha counts $2.25 million against the NHL salary cap this season before becoming eligible for restricted free agency (with arbitration rights) on July 17.

With left-wing Anthony Mantha (shoulder) on long-term injured reserve and not expected to return until close to the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs (at least), the Capitals have currently have $2,143,998 in salary cap space to spend at the trade deadline barring moving out a player currently on the active roster.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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12 Responses to Report: Capitals, Canucks Interested In Devils’ Zacha Prior To NHL Trade Deadline

  1. Lesliej427 says:

    Somebody please tell me why this is a good pick for us??
    I’m reading “career worst rating”, “3 pp goals in 4 straight seasons”, “has not quite panned out.”
    And we’re going to pay full salary and a 2nd round pick and another selection for him??

  2. Franky619 says:

    I’m guessing he would be a replacement for Eller. Zacha seems pretty good on face off and defensively responsible. With a couple more pieces going each way probably a 1st or a 2nd plus a prospect and a bad contract. A bit like like the Vrana/Panik for Mantha deal.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Our Center depth is lacking. Unless a better option surfaces, grab him.

    • steven says:

      Lets see….McMichael, Protos, Backy, Dowd, Eller, Kuzy, Snively and not counting the guys in the minors like Pinho, Pilon and Lapierre. What they lack is an outstanding goalie and some consistant D rather than the sleepwalking Carlson and average goalies. Personally Ihope there is no trades except as sellers of the older players. Keep the good young players we ahve and nurture them and watch them grow. Unfortunately they will not grow under this HC and GM.

      • Franky619 says:

        Backstrom is 34 with 3yrs with left and is’nt getting any better, Eller will be 33 next year, Dowd will be 32 and a 4th liner. Pinho, Pilon that’s not dept they’re AHLers for life, Mcmichael has’nt prove anything yet and does’nt seem to be in Lavy’s good grace. Lapierre is far from ready to step in the nhl. So trading for Zacha would probably be a good move.

  4. Anonymous says:

    How many teams have better center depth than the Caps??? Never understand this take…?? How may teams have a 5th center better than the Vaps to 4? The 5th would have to be better than combine McMichael…

    What team can afford 5 legit centers.

    Now, if you think we need to replace a center, okay cool – just say that. Having 5 stronger centers than – kuzy, backy, Eller and Dowd and then a 5th stronger than Connor and/or upside of Connor. Center is likely our deepest position

  5. Anonymous says:

    Why are Devils not re-signing a 24-year old center? That would concern me.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Zacha came up as a center but has played wing most of this year and some last year,
    -Hard shot misses net too much
    PK unit for most of his career
    big player skates well
    decent player in all 3 zones
    As someone mentioned before, devils will trade because of their own depth at center
    With age and control for this year and next devils are not dumping him, with a right offer they are willing to deal. He will not be traded for anything less than a 1st rounder or top tier prospect

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