Experience: 2 years (70 games)
The New Jersey Devils drafted center Pavel Zacha with the sixth-overall selection in 2015. Though I’m delighted with our pick, Mikko Rantanen, I wanted Zacha for the team at the time.
In his draft year, Chris Edwards from NHL Central Scouting described Zacha thus:
"“He’s got high-end skill and is an excellent competitor. He plays an excellent two-way game. He’s physical and solid on his skates and can separate guys from the puck.”"
His high-end offensive skill combined with his size and physicality is why I wanted Zacha for the Colorado Avalanche.
Two years on, Pavel Zacha has two years and 70 games under his belt. He hasn’t been a prolific scorer, recording eight goals and 16 assists for a total of 24 points. However, New Jersey hasn’t fully utilized him.
Right now the Hockey News is describing Zacha as a “naturally gifted offensive forward” who’s versatile to play center or wing. Indeed, the Hockey News posits that Zacha might not have the playmaking abilities to be a top-six center, so he might be better off as a winger.
While the Avs don’t favor big forwards as they once did, I doubt they’d be disappointed in Zacha’s bulk. It doesn’t slow him down, and it does allow him to play with something of a nasty streak — always helpful in the Central Division.
While Zacha isn’t anywhere near his potential, I don’t think he’s put up enough for Colorado to consider a one-for-one trade. I expect they’d want a draft pick or a prospect — or both. The New Jersey Devils stole our first-overall this year — they can give both for Tyson Barrie and, say, a later round pick.
So, here’s the trade:
Cheeky, I know. But I’m still steamed the Devils got that first-overall. I’m betting Avalanche GM Joe Sakic is, too.