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Devils Trade Wheeler to Senators

The Devils had stated an intention to obtain a center and not wanting to wait till the free-for-all that is known as free agency; they acted now and obtained a solid two way play making center, and former YoungStars Game MVP from the Ottawa Senators.
Coming from Ottawa to New Jersey is Travis Zajac, a 3rd year pro in NEFHL who has had a rough time with only 36 career points in 123 games. However considering his lack of playing time in an Ottawa powerhouse it's not too much of a surprise.  Right now, the management in New Jersey is penciling Zajac as a top six center next year, either playing behind another C who will have to be acquired through trade or free agency or in front of David Backes, who will remain the teams 2nd line pivot.

Not the ideal situation but the Devils are hoping Zajac can continue to emerge as an offensive threat while maintaining his incredible defensive game. The Devils have looked hard through the league while shopping Blake Wheeler and Fabian Brunnstrom and finally landed on a player they were comfortable dealing one of them for.

With a glut of wingers at the teams fingertips it was decided someone would have to be moved for a center.  With Colin Wilson still a few years away and Dubinsky focusing more on defense a move was needed.  It hurts to move Wheeler, who looks to be a fine player next year, but it had to be done.

Zajac still has good size (though clearly not as big as Wheeler), however the team likes Zajac's emerging physical play, plus his ability to set up plays and contract - which has him making only 1.5 million for the next 3 years after this season. It's still almost twice as much as Wheeler's contract but something the Devils thought was well worth the price.

The new forward lines with Zajac slotting in as a center and Morrison moving to RW is:


Still not playoff caliber offense this season, but moving forward the team definitely has potential to make noise (obviously without impending UFA's Morrison and possible retiree Forsberg).

Already Kane is showing a great scoring touch for a bargain $950,000 contract with 60 points in 60 games (19 goals), while Kobasew has 40 points, and Ryan has 33 (17 goals).  Kobasew has gone through huge stretches this season of bad play and right now only has 12 games with only 1 goal and most of those games he's a minus player -he'll need to pick up the slack and hopefully he can with Morrison taking shifts against opponents better defensemen.