Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Devil of a Deal for Zajac

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Devil of a Deal for Zajac

Article excerpt

NEWARK - Travis Zajac not only got Zach Parise's old locker stall. He also might have received some of the money Parise would have if he had chosen to re-sign with the Devils last summer.

Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello announced Wednesday afternoon that the team had signed Zajac, a 27-year-old center, to a long-term contract extension.

The eight-year deal for $46 million (a salary-cap hit of $5.75 million per season) will keep Zajac a Devil through the 2020-21 season if he chooses because it contains a full no-trade clause.

"It's something I take pride in," Zajac said of being a Devil. "I love wearing this logo on my chest. It means a lot to me. The environment that Lou has created here, it's a winning culture and I want to continue to be part of that and continue to help out in any way possible."

Zajac was scheduled to make $4.8 million this season (that number will be pro-rated for 48 games because of the lockout) in the final year of a four-year, $15.55 million contract he signed as a restricted free agent in 2009. In his new deal, Zajac will make $3.5 million in 2013-14, $5 million in 2014-15, $6.5 million in 2015-16 through 2018-19, and $5.75 million in 2019-20 and 2020-21.

"He's developed himself into an all-situation complete player," Lamoriello said. "He's one of our core leaders. He has been from Day One."

Lamoriello and Zajac's agent, Kurt Overhardt, began working on the contract before the lockout began in September, but "just ran out of time," according to Zajac. They finished it up this week.

The eight years is the longest allowable term under the new collective-bargaining agreement for a player re-signing with his team. Players signing with a new team can do so for up to seven years.

"It's humbling that Lou thinks that way about me, that he wants me here in this organization for eight more years," said Zajac, who is starting his seventh season. "I started my career here and he's done everything for me to try and have success here and become a better player. …

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