Former Boston Bruins assistant captain Mark Recchi believes that the Bruins came out on top in the Pavel Zacha-Erik Haula trade with the New Jersey Devils.
Recchi would know, considering he was an assistant coach for the Devils from 2020-22 and has watched Zacha develop on the Devils.
"He's a great kid; I mean just a great kid and a great teammate," Recchi said about Zacha, per Boston Hockey Now. "As for him as a player? Well, I think there's a ton of skill there once he can figure our how to use it on a consistent basis."
"I mean talent wise, Donny [Bruins general manager Don Sweeney] got a steal here. Talent-wise he's way better than Haula. He's got the skill and just a big body and when he uses that body he's hard to take the puck away from."
Recchi is making a strong claim here, considering the statistics do not support his take. Last season, Zacha notched 36 points (15 goals, 21 assists) in 70 games with the Devils. His plus-minus rating was -21. In comparison, Haula earned 44 points (18 goals, 26 assists) in 78 games with the Bruins during the 2021-22 season. Haula ended the season with a +19 rating.
Hopefully, the Bruins can help Zacha perform consistently. With Brad Marchand out for the beginning of the season, it is a possibility that the Bruins form a Czech line with Zacha, David Krejci and David Pastrnak. With Krejci and Pastrnak on his line, Zacha has strong potential to become a consistent contributor for the B's.
"With Krejci coming back, that's huge because I know he loves 'Krech' and looks up to him," Recchi shared. "He can really help him on and off the ice."
"Confidence and just putting it all together has been the issue. Last year, he got off to a great start; was really our best player; and then he hit a bump a bit and he just couldn't seem to dig himself out of it," Recchi said.
"He wants to show he deserved to get drafted where he is and effort isn't an issue at all; it's just confidence and really knowing he can do it."
Montgomery is known for his strong relationships with his players. Montgomery and Krejci have the potential to build Zacha's confidence, which will hopefully help Zacha to live up to Recchi's compliments and help him feel like he deserved to be selected sixth overall in the 2015 draft.
With Krejci and Patrice Bergeron's leadership, Zacha has the opportunity to better his game and build his career in Boston.