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Devils sign Zacha after brief, amusing KHL flirtation

Buffalo Sabres v New Jersey Devils

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 25: Pavel Zacha #37 of the New Jersey Devils in action against the Buffalo Sabres at Prudential Center on March 25, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Sabres 3-1. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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To put things mildly, Pavel Zacha hasn’t exactly lived up to being the sixth overall pick of the 2015 NHL Draft during his time with the New Jersey Devils.

In all honesty, the highlight of his time so far might have come recently, when Devils GM Ray Shero profanely reacted to Zacha seemingly trying to use the KHL as leverage in RFA negotiations. Now both sides can laugh about it (?), too, after the Devils signed Zacha to a three-year contract that carries a $2.25 million AAV. This just about wraps up the Devils’ offseason to-do list, at least if they can’t convince Taylor Hall to sign an early extension.

Don’t blame Devils fans if they make a joke about sending Zacha to bleepin’ Brampton if he struggles, because this is gold (Jerry, gold):

Zacha, 22, hasn’t distinguished himself in many good ways, aside from seemingly being useful on the penalty kill.

His possession stats have been weak at best, and he hasn’t provided much offense, generating 13 goals and 25 points in 61 games last season. He’s fallen in that range for some time now, producing 25 points in 2017-18 and 24 in 2016-17.

Maybe the Devils can give more of a [redacted] about Zacha if he can find a fit in what looks like a massively improved lineup, though? Either way, it will be a challenge for Zacha to be more than just that guy who Ray Shero said bad words about.

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James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.