Boston Hockey Now has confirmed numerous reports that the Boston Bruins have acquired 25-year-old, 6-foot-3, 210-pound center Pavel Zacha from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for veteran forward Erik Haula.
TSN Insider Darren Dreger had the scoop first on the Bruins acquiring Zacha.
Erik Haula from Boston to New Jersey for Pavel Zacha.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 13, 2022
Pavel Zacha, who was drafted sixth overall by the Devils in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. He is coming out of a three-year contract that carried a $2.25 million salary cap after his entry level deal that carried a $894,167 cap hit.
Pavel Zacha scored 15 goals and 21 assists for a career high in points with 36 in the 2021-22 season. His career high in goals came in the 2020-21 season when he scored 17 goals in 50 games and his career high in assists came in the 2019-20 season when he had 21 helpers. Zacha has 69 goals and 110 assists in 386 career games in the NHL. Those under-whelming numbers for a sixth overall pick has had Zacha on the NHL trade market since last offseason and has many fans and some media referring to him as a ‘bust’ but could his potential finally be realized with the Boston Bruins?
Here’s what one NHL scout, who watched plenty of Devils games and Pavel Zacha over the last few seasons had to say about him to BHN minutes after the trade:
“First of all, I got to know Pavel a bit over the years and I want to stress that you’re getting a great guy and teammate,” the scout said. “The problem is, as nice as he is off the ice, he’s that nice on it. The Bruins are going to have to find that mean streak in him and give him more confidence physically. He’s got skill but to use that skill, he needs to be a bigger presence in front and use his body.”
So from the sounds of it, this acquisition may not sway the NHL betting odds for the Bruins just yet, but that could change if Zacha gets a bit meaner.
The Boston Bruins signed Erik Haula to a two-year contract ($2.3 AAV), just over a year ago when the 2021 NHL Free Agency period kicked off. The 31-year-old had 18 goals and 26 assists in 78 games for the Bruins this past season. For most of the second half of the season, he centered Taylor Hall and David Pastrnak. Now it appears, the team’s former second line center David Krejci will replace Haula as reports were circulating Wednesday that Krejci and the Bruins were closing in on a one-year contract.