Thursday, August 18, 2011

Zajac tears achilles, out three months (at least)

This is what technology has done for us...during a boring day at work, I was surfing the internet on my phone and came across a Devils tweet that said 'Zajac had successful surgery to repair a torn achilles'. WHAT?!?!?! I could do nothing but roll my eyes and shake my head. Yes, the same Travis Zajac that played in 401 consecutive games somehow managed to tear his achillies in off-season training and will now need three months to heal, and with the Devils' track record in rehabbing guys recently (think: Zach Parise, David Clarkson, Paul Martin) bet on it being longer. The only good news is that the first month and a half is before the season, but that's also time you lose getting into shape for the season and you have to rehab on the fly.

There is no understating how big this loss is, Zajac was the team's top center and was competent to good in all areas of the game (offense-defense-faceoffs). To lose him even if it was for only half the season may mean the difference between the Devils being a sure playoff bet and being a borderline eight seed - at best. Although GM Lou Lamoriello said at this point he has no plans to bring anyone in for tryouts or in a trade, with over $5 million in cap space plus the amount saved on the cap from Zajac going on LTIR the Devils could and should eventually make a move...if the budget isn't factoring in. This might be the biggest acid test yet to see whether the Devils are in fact rebuilding and cutting costs.

If the Devils really do have another non-playoff or even borderline playoff year it also hurts their chances of retaining star winger Parise. Of course that's a secondary concern at the moment since there's still the 2010-11 season to be played. But with the black cloud of Parise's contract already hanging over us, now this injury to Zajac is the lightning and thunder we didn't need before the coming rainstorm.

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