Travis Zajac scored 20 goals and 62 points in 2009. He improved with 25 goals and 67 points last season. With Ilya Kovalchuk in town for life and Zach Parise emerging as a legitimate stud; Zajac can no longer be ignored as a fantasy asset.
After the Kovalchuk trade last season, Zajac scored 9 goals and 22 points in 27 games. He was not always playing with Kovalchuk, but he was almost always paired with Parise.
This year, Zajac is set to lineup with Parise on his left and Kovalchuk on his right. Kovalchuk has played left wing for his entire career, but is willing to concede his position to Parise in an effort to create a super line in New Jersey. Zajac is a good enough playmaker and fantasy sleeper on his own. Add Parise and he is a solid contributor. Add Parise AND Kovalchuk and Zajac becomes a top 25 fantasy forward.
The Devils’ powerplay should also be somewhat improved too with a full season with Kovalchuk. On the first unit, Zajac is poised to be the benefactor of 20+ powerplay goals from Parise and Kovalchuk. This factor alone should boost his production by a few points.
He is still not the big name among fantasy circles, so he may slip down further than what he is worth. Do not let him slip too far down your draft board because he is the type of player that could solidify your backup center slot.
The Hockey News predicts Zajac is in line for 69 points this season; while McKeen’s has him for a measly 55. Taking all accounts into consideration, 50MC Fantastically Forecasts a career season for Travis Zajac with 26 grapes, and 45 apples for 71 potatoes.
Go make it happen, Trav.