McKenzie: A healthy Zajac makes the Devils a better team

Bob McKenzie

4/24/2012 11:02:39 PM

Some quick thoughts from the NHL on TSN panel on Tuesday:

When Travis Zajac is in the lineup, he makes the New Jersey Devils a much better team.

He missed the start of the season with an achilles tendon injury, and after missing the first 30 games, he returned, only to leave the lineup again in January. He came back again for the final seven games of the regular season. The one goal he scored in those final seven games was a game-winning goal against the New York Islanders.

In this series, he's stepped up offensively, posting six points in six games, including the overtime goal in Game 6 against the Florida Panthers. He creates a more offensive presence for a team that can use it.

A healthy Zajac has made a huge difference for the Devils. 

Tough to Move

We talk a lot about Roberto Luongo's contract with the Vancouver Canucks. There are 10 years left on it but keep in mind that it's one of those cheater contracts, if you want to call it that. 

Over the next six years, he's making $6.7 million per year in terms of his actual salary and his cap hit is only $5.3 million. Whether it's a six-year deal or he sticks around for a seventh year and makes $3.4 million, if he does, I bet he's playing very well. Those last three years were just tacked on to the end to lower the cap average and I can't imagine him sticking around during those seasons.

From the Canucks perspective, I don't know if they are going to get a huge number of assets back in exchange for Luongo but they are going to get $5.3 million in cap space. The teams that will want Luongo are not going to give up a lot taking on that contract.

Even if it isn't 10 years, six or seven years is still a lot but a more palatable number than when you first look at the entire contract.