The New Jersey Devils honored former center Travis Zajac for playing 1,000 NHL games with one team. Zajac completed his career with a total of 1,037 games and finished his career with the New York Islanders. Zajac was a great New Jersey Devil as he wore that Devils uniform with great pride. To mark the occasion, I will look back on his career in New Jersey.
Zajac was drafted by the Devils in the first round as the 20th pick in 2004. He made his NHL debut in October 2006. In the second game of the season, Zajac scored his first career goal against the Dallas Stars. In total, Zajac recorded a total of 552 points with a combination of 203 goals and 349 assists. Additionally, he broke Ken Daneyko‘s record for most consecutive games played with the Devils with 388 games. Zajac was also reliable in the face-off circle. When the Devils needed an important face-off win in their zone he was consistently successful.
Zajac’s most famous moment as a Devil came in the 2012 playoff run. In game 6 of the eastern conference quarterfinals, the Devils were on the cusp of elimination. The game went into overtime and Ilya Kovalchuck sent a cross-ice pass to Zajac who buried it five-hole. The Devils then took care of business in Florida in game 7 to win the series. Zajac eventually retired on September 20, 2021.
The way I will remember Travis Zajac is that he gave it his all on the ice every single game for the Devils. He was never the best player but he always contributed. He either contributed by winning a face-off or scoring a clutch goal. In my opinion, the Devils should retire Zajac’s number. I can not imagine the number 19 being worn by any other Devils player and it would be a testament to his excellent career.