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Devils Travis Zajac out four-to-six months after pectoral surgery

Matthew Schmidt

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NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 08: New Jersey Devils center Travis Zajac (19) skates during the second period of the National Hockey League game between the New Jersey Devils and the New York Islanders on April 8, 2017, at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)
Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire

New Jersey Devils center Travis Zajac will be out for four-to-six months after undergoing surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle, according to the team’s official website. Zajac has played 11 seasons in the NHL, all of them coming with the Devils.

The 32-year-old was originally selected by New Jersey in the first round (20th pick overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

He broke into the league during the 2006-07 campaign, playing in 80 games and scoring 17 goals while handing out 25 assists over 1,283 minutes of total ice time. He also registered a plus-1 plus-minus stat. Zajac then played all 82 games in four straight seasons between 2008-09 and 2011-12, including the 2009-10 campaign when he scored a single-season career-high 25 goals and equaled another career-best mark with 42 assists in 1,658 minutes on the ice. Additionally, the Winnipeg native posted a 22 plus/minus rating. His career-best plus/minus rating came in 2008-09, when he finished with a terrific 33.

Last year, Zajac played in 80 games and found the back of the net 14 times while tacking on 31 assists. However, his -8 plus/minus was the second-worst mark of his career.

As a franchise, New Jersey has fallen on hard times. The once-dominant team has missed the playoffs for five straight seasons, its longest drought since it failed to qualify for the postseason in nine consecutive years from 1979-80 through 1987-88. The Devils recorded just 70 points last season, its lowest point total in a non-lockout shortened campaign since 1989-90. The last time New Jersey was in the playoffs, it made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, where it fell to the Los Angeles Kings.

Matthew Schmidt is a life-long sports fan who was born and raised in New Jersey, which makes the fact that he is a Celtics and Marlins fan kind of peculiar. Don't worry; he likes the Giants in football, so his New Jersey roots have not been completely tarnished. You can also find his work at Bleacher Report and Baseline Banter.

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