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.