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More aimless Travis Zajac trade speculation

Sep 5, 2010, 11:57 AM EDT

traviszajac2.jpgIf you’ve not made time to spend with your grain of salt lately, perhaps it’s time you got reacquainted. As we know, now that the Devils officially have Ilya Kovalchuk back in the fold, the Devils are under a bit of a salary cap crunch. The Devils have any number of moves they can make in order to help the team get back under the salary cap (they’re over by around $3 million at the moment) and while there’s a couple of players we mentioned the other day that could be on the move, one Ottawa columnist opines that one other player in particular could be the one to go. Grain of salt, go!

Sources say since Lamoriello is not happy with the idea of giving up picks, the Devils have been quietly dangling around 25-year-old centre Travis Zajac, who has a $3.9- million cap hit through 2012-13.

“He’s a good player,” said one NHL executive.

The Devils got their man by signing Kovalchuk, but it comes with a whole new set of headaches.

By the time training camp wraps up at the end of this month, there could be a few familiar faces missing.

Of the players the Devils have that have a high salary and could be moved (Salvador, Zubrus, Zajac, Brian Rolston), Zajac is the most attractive as he’s proven he’s got top skills and, more importantly, he’s much younger than the other three players by far. Zajac is just 24 years-old and would be a welcome addition to any team that wanted to bring him on. Of course, the Devils dealing him away would make them that much older and they’d be losing a guy who’s developed a ton of chemistry with Zach Parise, the Devils other major goal scorer.

It would, ideally, be easier to find suitors for Zajac, of course, even with a cap hit near $3.9 million for the next three years because he’s young and his career is still on the rise. Guys like Salvador, Zubrus and Rolston are already maxed out as far as their careers go. You’re probably not going to see much more improvement out of them and in the case of Brian Rolston, his game has fallen off so hard in the last year that his $5 million cap hit for the next two years looks especially painful.

Could Travis Zajac be traded? Sure, anything is possible. Is it likely? No. The only way it becomes at all feasible is if the Devils are really desperate to get under the cap and don’t want to pay Brian Rolston $5 million to play for Albany in the AHL, a possibility that hasn’t even been discussed at all publicly. (edit: Thanks to the comments for pointing out my brain fart. The only cap relief a 35+ contract gets if a player is sent to the AHL is $100,000. CapGeek has that info in their FAQ under “What’s a 35+ contract”.)

Thank goodness for the grain of salt.

  1. Bradford - Sep 5, 2010 at 12:16 PM

    Rolston was over 35 when he signed his huge contract with New Jersey, so even if they bury him in Albany his cap hit won’t come off the books. So it’s not really a solution to their issues.

  2. Andrew Smith - Sep 5, 2010 at 12:32 PM

    Rolston was over 35 when he signed his contract so his cap hit counts no matter where he plays or even if he retires.
    How is that for a grain of salt?

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